There are better, much, much better days to climb Wanli Chángchéng - The Great Wall of China - the longest structure ever built by man, than on a blistering hot summer day, especially when it is shrouded in a miserable smog. But that is what my friend Gloria and I got when we visited the Mutianyu section of the wall, some 45 kms / 28 miles out of Beijing.
It was Gloria's first time to this UNESCO World Heritage Site and since we had arrived rather early in the morning, she was initially hopeful that the smog would burn off.
We started our long walk through the heavy hot air with visibility I suspected to be below publicly acceptable levels. Where many others have photographed a gorgeous wall snaking across an impressive landscape, I captured scenes I thought I'd never share with anyone.
We could barely make out the next watch tower.
Viewing places with no views; just smog. Oh, and the wild flowers.
The smog, by the way, is caused by a number of factors - emissions from industries without proper environmental safeguards, heavy trucks, coal production and use in cooking, as well as sand particles from the Gobi Desert just 160 kms / 100 miles north of the capital. The situation is exacerbated when it's hot and humid with no wind to disperse it, as it was on this day. Yet the powers that be in China are keenly aware of all this and have, since that day, made great strides towards the greening of the nation.
Here's one final shot for you through the doorway of a watch tower.
And yet, for SkyWatch Friday I thought these would serve as an unusual post. What do you think?
To be continued...
Do click on the link for links to much more beautiful skies around the globe.