August 6, 2010

[SkyWatch] Smog on The Great Wall

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. 

Beijing, 2007

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.

22 comments:

LadyFi said...

Unusual photos - and quite beautiful too.

Carolyn Ford said...

That's smog...oh, my! It seems thick enough to kill a person! I was hoping it was misty clouds creating heavy duty humidity...no summertime trip to China for me...I'll stick to spring or fall seasons. Very nice photos!

James said...

when I was a boy growing near Los Angeles in the 1970's My lungs ached from the smog but I think tis is even worse. Even so the views are amazing.

Tricia said...

Nicely captured!

Happy Sky Watch Friday!

EG Wow said...

The wall is magnificent and I am sooo jealous that you have been there more than once! Someday I hope to see it in person.

BraCom (Bram) said...

Beautiful sky photos

Have a nice weekend, Bram

seen on Sky Watch Friday

Jacob said...

Stop putting yourself down. Hey, we've all seen the usual "beautiful" and scenic shots. You've shown us a different kind of beauty: unique and mysterious and enchanting! A super series!

Linnea W said...

Hey, you made the best of it! You could have fooled us all and told us it was nice, cool fog passing by! We wouldn't have known the difference. Lucky you to walk the wall! I hope to go there some day - maybe during spring, not summer! Thanks for sharing these great shots.

Manang Kim said...

Great shot thanks for sharing!

SkyWatchFriday

Siromade said...

Beautiful photos, lucky of you to visit the great wall one of kind place to visit and looking the lovely sky from there.

J Bar said...

Great place.
Sydney - City and Suburbs

Julie said...

Well the final shot is a ripper! Many of the others are pretty good too, certainly to one who has never seen the Great Wall. Smog is a real killer in more ways than one. I read some of your biog. Wow! Have you moved around, or what!!

Ma.links said...

Wonderful photos.

lina@women's perspectives said...

wow...
That's an amazing place that I want to visit...
Great photos :)

Kaori said...

I think these photos are great choices for skywatch friday! I've never seen the Great Wall of China like this before. But despite the smog, you take beautiful photos :D

VP said...

I think that, in this case, it clearly adds something to the pictures.

Denise said...

Magnificent photos Francisca. Thank you for stopping by as I am very happy, having returned the visit, to discover your wonderful blog.
An English Girl Rambles

Kate said...

Very haunting....looks like fog but doesn't BREATH like fog! Wonderful views!

tapirgal said...

A very cool series and commentary. I would have thought it was romantically foggy, but the true story is fascinating. I've read about the greening of China. We all need to be acting in this direction.

Evelyn said...

Nice to see your pics. I'd love to go there again, and again, and again. It was such a wonderful place.

Dina said...

I believe in showing things how they are.
Thanks for this post.

Spiderdama said...

Great pictures! Like the last one best, just wonderful view.
Have a nice week:-)