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Hi John,

Thanks again for a great day.

Pictures attached of the blocked tower (20th) – I think it’s the one where the hike transfers from ‘Wild’ to ‘Restored’ and we had to edge out along a small ledge and climb over the blockage into the watchtower from there – but there was quite a drop below.

In the last image you can see behind the woman a lower part of the wall, to the right of the picture which is where we climbed over (about 1 meter in heigh).

Hope this helps!


Update 5th of May, 2016.



The Mutianyu authority started to build blockage from Jiankou to Mutianyu on 30th March. The entrance at Watch Tower 20 was closed off. It is still manageable if you are willing to climb over the 60cm-high wall next to the entrance. The hike from Jiankou to Mutianyu now is becoming increasingly popular. It’s a pity that the doorway was blocked.


Great Wall from Stéphane Kelomey on Vimeo.

Heavenly Ladder

john  —  May 1, 2016 — 1 Comment

CHINA 2013 – Part 2/7: Great Wall from Adam Ludzen on Vimeo.



happy new year

WeChat Payments By Phone

john  —  December 21, 2015


Pay­ment by mobile phone is becom­ing increas­ingly pop­u­lar in China using the WeChat app. It’s one of the lat­est tech­nol­ogy trends rein­forc­ing the impor­tance of how the hum­ble mobile phone is chang­ing our life. It’s already made the land­line tele­phone, music play­ers and cam­eras obso­lete. Now it could eas­ily replace car­ry­ing a wal­let with your money or credit cards. Canthy’s not a techie, but her lat­est addic­tion is using her mobile phone to buy things online or in store.

(Blog posted by Ray on November 16, 2015)

Killer Pollution Back in Beijing

john  —  December 21, 2015

Dec1_Beijing_pollution Dec1_Beijing_pollution3 Dec2_Pollution

How ironic as Xi Jin­ping and 159 world lead­ers debate cli­mate change in Paris: Bei­jing is hav­ing its worse day of pol­lu­tion. The pol­lu­tion read­ings have been off the scales as thick, heavy, putrid smelling smog descended on the city. Talk­ing is good but it doesn’t seem to be mak­ing much dif­fer­ence in China. As here we need real and imme­di­ate action to solve the prob­lem and stop it get­ting even worse. I just wish the con­fer­ence had of been held in Bei­jing. Then every­one would know just how seri­ous the prob­lem is and see first hand what it does to the envi­ron­ment and city life.

(Blog posted by Ray on December 1, 2015. You can see the original article by following this link to

Snow at Jiankou

john  —  December 10, 2015 — Leave a comment

Snow at JianKou from mbgriffi on Vimeo.

Niu Rou Bing (beef pancake)

john  —  October 11, 2015

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Our ayi is quite famous for her cook­ing and has many spe­cial­ity dishes. My favourite is her Hong Shao Rou, but Tanya and Ali­cya love her Niu Rou Bing. This dish is quite sim­ple to make, as it’s basi­cally a pan­cake filled with beef. Obvi­ously, there are a lot more ingre­di­ents and the meat has to be mar­i­nated in a spe­cial sauce. It’s then fried in oil to make the pan­cake crisp. It’s not too healthy, but its tasty and the kid’s love eat­ing it.

(Blog posted by Ray on August 27, 2015. You can see the original article by following this link to

Duck Skin, Meat, Bones and Soup

john  —  October 11, 2015

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One of my favourite foods in China is Peking Duck. The best place to eat it is Da Dong; prob­a­bly the most famous duck restau­rant in Bei­jing. No part of the bird is wasted: as first you eat the skin; then the meat; then the car­cass is boiled into a soup. Can­thy also likes eat­ing the bones (head and neck) but that not some­thing I am keen on. How­ever, the duck soup is always tasty and a nice way to fin­ish off the meal.

(Blog posted by Ray on August 29, 2015. You can see the original article by following this link to