By Adhali Trejo, Semester at Sea, Spring 2017

Never did I ever think that I would be able to visit the Great Wall of China one day. Even as I sailed across the Pacific Ocean for two weeks, it did not fully sink in that I would be visiting the great country of China. Navigating across such a vast country presented many challenges and tested my abilities to remain level headed, but after hours and hours of traveling and getting lost, I finally made it.

I arrived at the area named Mutianyu.  It was breathtaking, but I also I noticed that there was trash in many areas around the wall which is probably the result of visitors dropping their trash off the sides of the wall. Although the views from the wall are amazing, I think some of the beauty is ruined by the trash that is accumulating in certain areas.

Many people came to the Great Wall with the goal of taking a piece of it with them as they left. I saw tourists picking at the bricks and at the steps of the Wall hoping to dislodge a piece of it to take home. If people continue to do this over aperiod of time, there will be significant damage to the wall. The section I visited, Mutianyu, was not as crowded with tourists as many of the other sections where trash and taking a piece of the Wall might be even more common.

Overall, my experience at the Great Wall was incredible yet troubling in some ways that touristsare not always respecting UNESCO sites such as this one.