It was a long haul, nearly 25 hours of travel and we were now on the final stretch from Dubai to Beijing.
It was not long, and the pilot announced that he was beginning the descent towards Beijing. This was followed by the normal scurry around the cabin as the flight attendants began to collect all the loose items. Blankets, head phones and anything else that could rattle around and be of danger during the landing. I then felt the plane throttle back as we began a steeper descent down towards Beijing.
I was staring out the window as the wings cut through the pockets of cloud. Pieces wisped past the window as the vortex from the wings scattering the cloud like leaves in an autumn breeze. Up, up and away they shot and quickly reforming above the wing again as we dropped through the layers of thinning cloud. Finally, we broke clear of all cloud and there below us were the mountains of the coastal plateau, majestically rolling out in the blue haze below.
Row upon row of mountains, valleys and peaks as far as you can see, creating this 3D spectacle that spun me into a trance. I just stared and stared at what lay below. The picture seemed to quietly blur out of focus as the nervousness began to grip me for the first time. It was real. It was now here after nearly three years of getting this project together. In four days’ time Andrew and I will be down there in the thick of things, challenging every bit of our resolve as we head through the “BLUE” and west along the spine of the sleeping dragon.
This thought seemed to shock my mind back into reality. Slowly my eyes began to focus on something below. There was this linear object that had developed its own form; it was not a conventional line as with a road. This had developed in a very different way, there seemed to be no explanation of what line it followed, it seemed to have its own logic. A road would wind through valleys and around the mountains. No, this line had its own unconventional form, it looked like someone had thrown a massive ribbon down from above that slowly fluttered down and settled across the landscape. Twisted, turned and doubled back as it slowly settled and formed by the soft breath of the wind.
The Great Wall had finally surfaced majestically sprawled across the mountainous landscape.
I stared down at it, spellbound, nervous as a quick bout of nauseous tension surfaced within. Its real, it’s here it’s now time for “Back to the Wall!”
Suddenly all of this evaporated as I was overwhelmed with the excitement of having the privilege of once challenging the sleeping dragon.
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