All of us at WildChina are excited about our upcoming Where the Wild Things Are speaker: William Lindesay. Lindesay is a WildChina Expert and Great Wall historian whose first trip to the Wall in 1987 “was supposed to be a one-off trip [but] sparked a lifetime obsession.”
The May issue of Time Out Beijing features Lindesay and his most recent contribution to Great Wall history: the rediscovery of a section of the Wall deep in the Mongolian Gobi Desert.
The discovery of this wall on the other side of the Chinese-Mongolian border is not new. Lindesay is not adding to history…he is rewriting it. Long thought to be remains from Genghis Khan’s vast empire, Lindesay now thinks this 3ft -high wall is actually part of the Chinese Great Wall. “My first reaction was, why would Genghis Khan build walls? He’s the big conqueror, the man who went out and ruled Asia. A wall is normally a form of defense”.
So, he set out to find it and examine it himself. His previous experiences in the desert–along part of the Han dynasty Great Wall in arid Gansu province–were close calls. “Some of the crew collapsed from dehydration during a 30km trek in temperatures of 46 celcius, and Lindesay was forced to drink his own urine to ‘make it that last mile’. Not wishing to repeat that experience, he made doubly sure enough water was brought. “Laden with enough water (40 litters per person to last over five days), tents, basic provisions, and the twin luxuries of HP sauce (for the Brits) and premium Genghis Khan vodka (for the Mongolian army officers they would meet near the wall), they set off in two old Land Cruisers.”
What he found, and the conclusions he’s drawn–that the wall was part of the Western Xia dynasty–have incited uproar among Mongolians who claim the wall as the “Genghis Khan Wall”. However Lindesay “hopes, whether the wall was Genghis’ or not, that Mongolians can still feel proud. ‘It should be a shared heritage. As the president of Mongolia once said, “The Chinese people were hard-working and organized to build the Great Wall, but it takes a great people to have a great wall like this built for them”.'”
For someone who’s first trip to the Wall involved “being arrested nine times, deported once, overcoming sunstroke and having to out-run vicious guard dogs”, we can’t wait to hear more about Lindesay’s most recent Wall adventure.
Where the Wild Things Are: An evening with William Lindesay event details:
Thursday, May 31 at 6:30PM
Great Leap Brewing 大跃啤酒
6 Doujiao Hutong, off of Dianmenwai Dajie
Tickets are RMB 250 per guest and can be purchased on Yoopay
票价为250元一张, 请直接从 Yoopay 购买：
Tickets are RMB 250, which includes entry, two beers from Great Leap and dinner provided by Mercante (vegetarian option is available). Soft drinks and sparking water will also be available.
Tickets are going fast–less than 10 tickets left, less than 10 days to book! Come on out to the event that Time Out Beijing’s critics have named Number 1 Around Town.
To read the entire article on Lindesay’s “Wonder Wall”, pick up a copy of this month’s Time Out Beijing.
Photos by William Lindesay.