After reading Michael Grant's article on Petra, I thought I would spread the word to China. Here I am on one of the greatest engineering feats of the ancient world, the Great Wall. Baring my chest in the -10°C chill, the other tourists thought I had gone completely mad - maybe they were right! This section of the wall is about 45km north of Beijing. The wall was started in 221 BC by the Emperor Shi Huangdi, to protect China's northern frontier from the Mongolian invaders. It runs approximately 2,500 miles in length and apparently is visible from the moon - I gave a wave in case any extra-terrestrials happened to be looking this way.

On the wall

I was in China for a fortnight's holiday. The main aim of my trip was to visit a friend working out in Hong Kong. We started off at Beijing then flew to Xi'an where we saw the magnificent terra-cotta army before ending up in Hong Kong. The contrasts were truly incredible. It was a trip that took us 11,550 miles from extreme temperatures of -10° to 28°C, through arid plains to lush mountains, from the confines of a dictatorship to the ultimate form of capitalism, from one of the world's oldest cultures to the 21st century. China is not so far removed from Anhk-Morpork as one may think; they may not have Rat Onna Stick, but they come a close second with scorpion on a stick. Needless to say we gave this snackette a miss.

Suzanne Kitto

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November 1998