Well it looked like my dehydration from traveling mixed with the baijiu and beer enjoyment from the night before left me severely incapacitated the next day. While I was in bed recovering, the rest of the group went out to explore the beaches, even renting a boat to take them out to sea a bit. By the afternoon I had recovered enough to meet up for lunch before the four in the car would be heading back home to Beijing.
Amy and I took the rest of the day to walk around the nearly entirely abandoned resort town, enjoying some local fish for dinner before heading to bed in order to get an early start in the morning.
The next day we were able to pick up some street food for breakfast, guan bing (a type of pancake with egg, lettuce, some potato, and sauce) and you tiao (油条- oil strips, a sort of Chinese donut, strips of dough that are deep fried and you dip in bean juice).
We wanted to get an early start to have enough time to see the sights in Shanhaiguan where the Head of the Dragon and the end of the great wall are before heading back to Beijing. The ride was only about an hour, so after we settled in a hotel we set out to check out the nearby ancient city wall, at Tianxia Diyiguan, “First Pass Under Heaven”. This surrounded an old style village where vendors were selling souvenirs and peanut snacks (that are made by smashing the nuts with massive mallets).
Next stop was to check out the wall that was a bit farther out in the surrounding mountains. There were several places to apparently visit, but unfortunately due to it being out of season, almost all of them were closed for “防火＂or “fire protection.” This was incredibly frustrating given that we were going to be missing out on the wall but the drive through the mountains was still a lot of fun with lots of curves to enjoy on the bike and still some nice scenery. We eventually found one area, Jiu Men Kou, about 20km out of town, that was open and also had the best stretch of road. Jiumenkou (which means “9 Entrances”) is apparently the only section of the entire wall that goes over water and gets its name from the 9 arches that go over the river it crosses. There’s also a nearby Ming era tunnel that goes about a half a mile under the mountain (and the entrance for some reason has a pretty big aviary that included peacocks and ostriches).
Overall this was probably my favorite day of the trip. Though pretty exhausting ,we saw some impressive sights and got to enjoy some of my favorite roads that I’ve been on in north west China. It helped that there were almost no crowds. Tomorrow, we’ll be trying to get an even earlier start, getting to the Head of the Dragon just after sunrise and then trying to make it the 300km back to Beijing.