Four hours there by minivan and another four hours back.
The rising tide of Chinese imperialism was leaving its emotional scars, tearing at my soul and leaving me physically shattered.
Now the communists wanted to rip at the caucus; prove they were a friendly nation - not a nationalistic threat to their neighbours or the wider world as the underground network of conspiracy theorists supposed.
So, while waiting for my passport, visa and a permit to a protected autonomous region they were making sure that I make a visit...a visit to The Great Wall of China – that renowned symbol of misplaced planning, wasted resources and misused manpower.
I was handed a copy of communist re-educational materials. The materials went on to state that The Great Wall of China was ‘a symbol of defence’ - protecting the boundaries between the real and the imagined.
Between the ideology and the truth.
Protecting us all from the time when the enemy chooses to attack.
Those darkest hours, when time is spent between the sin and when we finally get to forgive ourselves.
Like onward Christian soldiers.
While on my short walk atop The Great Wall of China I noticed a woman a short way into the distance. Surprisingly it was the woman who, during the previous year, I had spent four days sitting beside while we were passengers within a 4-wheel-drive tour group touring inner Bolivia.
Walking at different paces it was not long before the various tour groups intermingled and she saw me amongst all the other Caucasian tourists.
Each of us stopped for a short chat.
She told me she had made her way to Beijing and The Great Wall of China via the Trans-Siberian Railway. She was obviously proud of her achievement.
“But you are not going to Tibet?” I asked incredulously, similar to all the other arse-hole travellers I had met over the years who specialised in downgrading one's achievements.
“No” she replied, deflated and even slightly, momentarily, downcast.
I continued to look at her incredulously.
And then, as if those that have no intention of going to Tibet have never had anything of interest to say, I politely said my goodbyes and walked on.