“The Great Wall of China was built during the time of Emperor Nasi Goreng to keep the rabbits out.”
I was holding up a sign proclaiming those words as I stood proudly getting my photo taken in the first tower of The Great Wall of China. Lots of Chinese people around me stared, whether it was at me, or because they were trying to decipher my sign, hard to say. I had the feeling that even if they understood English, it would still need some explaining.
I would like to say the reason behind my sign was because it was an inside joke based on my unparalleled genius, but it’s the Bigpond advertisement. Even if the information is not correct, I thought the ad was funny. I got a ton of laughs; at me, not with me. I expected as much.
My partner and I started to trek back down, now finished with our photo op. This proved hard. The jagged and uneven steps that had thwarted us on the way up, proved just as irritating going down. The guardrails mounted on the side of the wall were so worn away it was like trying to pull yourself on ice – difficult for the unfit, but doable. It was also the only way to get safely back without falling. At the second to last step, I congratulated myself and promptly tripped. Pain quickly dissipated, though.
"What in the world is that?" I asked as my partner raised an eyebrow.
"Being in the this place as long as you, I of course have no idea."
I ignored the comment and focused on what was in front of me. It was a long red rope covered with locks: metal, silver, etc. The rope was attached to The Great Wall. It was beautiful with some of the ropes appearing much older than others. Our guide later told us the rope is a symbol of love and devotion. A couple can buy locks symbolizing themselves, their unity and attach it to the rope on The Great Wall.
I found this a fascinating piece of culture. At the time, however, I couldn't appreciate its significance, having just finished climbing a mountain, looking where I had left my heart.