How things have changed 12 years later
The journey is still in its infant stage, but already at this early stage there are many noticeable differences that I have seen along the wall.
I must admit that the progress of infrastructural development and city builds I am experiencing is astounding, but there is often a negative cost to progress. In saying this, it depends from what angle one looks at it. I suppose the slant that I am taking is a bit selfish as I love the old world experiences that one lives when journeying along the wall, but for the villagers and peasant farmers there is a totally different perspective as they toil every day in the burning sun and freezing cold to try and escape the poverty trap for their children.
I have noticed a definite acceleration in the degradation of the wall in many areas.
I think that it has become quite obvious as the city folk take on a healthier lifestyle and head out to the country side for weekend hikes; the wall becomes the no.1 attraction, especially the areas that are away from the tourist “Traps”. We have come across many groups of over kitted out locals hiking along the wall. Paths have developed along both sides and I feel that the footfall has added to probably 60% of the problem of the wall crumbling. Then with this comes the litter. I can’t believe the mountains of trash that these hiking folk spew out in every direction as the trundle the wall. Well in saying this, trash is part of the Chinese landscape.
The single biggest change is the evolution of most towns and villages in to high-rise landscapes. The old dwellings are bulldozed flat and in place are these massive 30 story apartment buildings that are springing up everywhere. The skyline is a backdrop of construction cranes swinging back and forth toiling over the skeletons of massive high-rise blocks like vultures eating at a carcase. Whole towns are totally re build block by block. Feeding into these new urban settlements are mega 6 lane freeways lined with Km of perfectly shaped upright painted trees brining supplies in and out of them. I must admit it’s impressive to see the rate at which it is done, but a pity that the old-world charm is slowly being lost.
To my astonishment, the acceleration of the roll out of green energy is ever present. I have never seen it done on such a scale. Wind turbines top every hill as far as the eye can see. I am not talking about a few hundred; I am talking about thousands, towering above the hilltops, lazily turning in the gentle breeze flicking their massive shadows across the valleys. There is a quiet swish as you pass by the massive blade descending in and ark, then climbs back up into the heavens above. There is a faint scream of the turbine high above, generating power from the wind. Then there are the sun farms, some of them about 5km in size, covering a whole hill. It is said that in 2017 alone China deployed more square meters of solar panels that the total USA roll out to date. This is an impressive move in the right direction.