Badaling near Beijing, China

A truly golden morning greeted us for what was going to be the biggest event day for N7W so far. As predicted by the coffee grounds in Istanbul, the weather gods must definitely be on our side! Probably the only completely still morning in six months in the mountains north of Beijing…and with perfect air and light conditions. Just a shame that we could not fly the airship – but we knew that the event would still be terrific.

Everyone welcomed and briefed us again in detail on an amazing event that could be seen as typically Chinese. Perfectly organized, with hundreds of happy, smiling, grooving people in colorful costumes dancing, drumming, marching and playing a sort of Chinese saxophone. Yes, I looked carefully and I could not see one of the about 1,000 performers who was not smiling like he or she really meant it! Whatever their lives are like (like ours, their problems must certainly vary), they had put all their worries aside to give us a very warm welcome and a great show! Amazingly, some of the performers were definitely not young but still performed enthusiastically with tremendous energy. At the end of the event, all of the groups of performers wanted to have their photos taken in front of the New7Wonders/Badaling Great Wall banner, so that we, the N7W crew, had to literally stand in line for quite a while before it was our turn … it was funny and we all joked around a lot. The happy mood was contagious and we really had a great, fun time all day long …and this in China, which I had not expected to give us such a fun and pleasantly happy time.

This spontaneous,genuine energy outburst shifted into a very intellectual and concentrated meeting with the press, during which the respected Mr. Dong Yaohui, Standing Vice-Chairman of the China Great Wall Society, made some extremely generous and well-founded comments on the purpose of the New7Wonders campaign. He emphasized the importance of such a campaign and of creating awareness for the world’s heritage through popular projects like N7W. He noted that it is not only up to the authorities to commit to the preservation of our global heritage, but also to every individual. This is perfectly illustrated by the Great Wall being so long that it can not possibly all be protected by the government, but must be taken care of by all the people in China who live along this gigantic monument.

Inspired by the creative atmosphere in the reception hall and press conference room of the Commune at the Great Wall hotel, I had a flash of inspiration that, since the Great Wall no longer serves any rational purpose, it has now become a huge piece of art. In my view, true art has no other purpose then to inspire and please.

In fact, one thing is standing on the wall (which, by the way, can be quite a challenge because of the steepness and many different levels – the sight can make you pretty dizzy, especially when one is exhausted from the climbing!). From a distance, however, looking at the Great Wall is like looking at a perspective drawing of the famous Dutch painter Escher. This giant, winding wall embedded into a beautiful and fascinating landscape is an incomparable visual pleasure! Every direction you look, there is a picture, a drawing, a painting, a photo, a film, a hologram …

As I said during the press conference to the many media present, for me, personally, it makes me very happy to see and meet happy and friendly people in China.Because China will inevitably, in a short time, have a huge influence on the future of our world and it is good to see that the Chinese people have pride without arrogance and happiness in their soul rather then grimness. My personal philosophy or “standard” was always the question: Could I stay in this place alone, all by myself without relatives and friends for a longer period of time? China is definitely a place where I can answer “yes” without hesitating!

I would also like to thank a clever and energetic young lady, Liu Yan, an employee in the beverage department of the Commune at the Great Wall who became our translator. Observing how she articulated and gesticulated, I could sense that she was doing much more then translating. In a very short time, she had become a real champion for N7W and negotiated in our interest to help the event and our stay in China be the best that they could be.

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