I arrived in Shanhaiguan right at nightfall on the first day of the May Day celebration, April 30. I met Driver just outside the train station. He called out "Hallo!" and I showed him the page in my notebook where a friend had written "Please take me to a hotel near the Great Wall where I can get a room for no more than 200 RMB a night." Driver took me to the Jing Shan Hotel, directly opposite the so-called "First Pass Under Heaven," i.e. the first gate on the easternmost point of the Great Wall.
Here is the First Pass, as seen from the front steps of my hotel. This was built in 1381, during the Ming
Dynasty. 111 years before Columbus's voyage!
The exterior of the hotel was lovely. It's recently built, but made to look like the classical architecture of central Shanhaiguan. The price was a bit more than
asked for in my note, 280 rmb a night. That's less than $45, but it's more than a luxury hotel in Shenyang. I wasn't thrilled, but it looked nice, and I'd been on a train for seven hours. The woman at the desk spoke a tiny bit of English, and after showing her my passport (required for all foreigners in any Chinese hotel) and pa
ying her cash for my room (credit cards are
little-used in China), I was escorted upstairs by a small, hunched old woman.
Here is the courtyard, seen the next morning.