Oceanics are in for this week’s Time Off Magazine Live cover shoot.

Check them out in this week’s issue #1592.

Get it FREE from all the usual street press outlets or read current and back issues online @ Time Off magazine – Brisbane

You’ve probably been wondering where we have been for the last couple weeks…no? Well, I’m telling you anyway! Gettin’ hitched and going on a honeymoon to Hawaii! Full report and photos will be coming in due time, however till then, the Time Off magazine Live cover shoots we did before hand kept rolling out with a great bunch of locals – sizzling JJJ favourites Pigeon, mainstays Dubmarine, crazy punkers TheCityShakeUp and a bout of live action with Hunting Grounds have filled the pages over the last few weeks in issues #1589, #1590 and #1591.

Grab the latest issue FREE from all the usual street press outlets or read it and back issues online @ Time Off magazine – Brisbane

We managed to hold down Millions for a photo in the middle of some hectic touring for this week’s Time Off Magazine Live cover shoot.

Check them out in this week’s issue #1588.

Get it FREE from all the usual street press outlets or read current and back issues online @ Time Off magazine – Brisbane

We’re not talking about the el cheapo 4WD and utes but the real mccoy, the one you can see from space! Its as vast as there are sections of it to see and options on how to get there.

Getting There
The first and quite common option is to arrange a tour. Like any tour, it’s a matter of fronting up the cash then waiting for your transport and instructions, easy enough. However the problem with this is a lot of the tour companies/bus operators/tour guides are in cahoots with local factories/markets so they make a few stops along the way so you spend money there as well. This might sound like a good idea but pick the wrong one and you’ll spend hours at a stop with nothing to do but get hassled by hawkers. Also not very good if you have a schedule to keep. There are of course legit operators and “private” guides that will take you directly to the wall, so do your research first!

Second option is to charter a taxi for the day, ie. You pay them to drive you there, wait and then drive you home. This option, while a bit expensive, would work well for a direct and quicker (no stops) travel but can be cheaper if you have a few people together to split the fare, the trade off however is trying to get a guarantee that the driver will hang around and wait for you and not run off as soon as some one else waves cash at them. On the plus side, there are plenty of drivers at the wall willing to take you back to the city so you wont be stranded.

Third, if you like living on the edge, is to hire a car. Cost is similar to most countries of $50-100AU a day for an “economy” size from a reputable dealer, however, assuming you have been in town for more than a minute and have witnessed the chaotic homicidal (or should that be suicidal??) drivers, this would be a last resort for most.

The final option and by far the cheapest, is to take public transport. I’m not sure about other sections of the wall but Mutianyu had only 2 bus services, slow and not as slow. Both will get you there eventually but one will make a lot more stops and a slight detour. The bus you’re after is the 936. To find this bus station, head east along the main road from Dongzhimen station for a few hundred meters. You’ll see the buildings die off, construction sites appear and it looks like you’ve gone too far (though, in the time since we travelled here its best to assume that there’s a new shopping mall/skyscraper there!), you’ll come across an open air bus terminal (see image). There’s a small ticket office (re: demountable building) but tickets are purchased on the actual bus. The journey is over 2 hours and there is a strong chance you may not get a seat and will have to sit on the floor. Also note, some seats have a different coloured headrest, after a lot of dirty looks and what we originally thought were comments about foreigners from elderly people we worked out that the seats were reserved for them. Strange since they were in the middle of the bus and not at the front, didn’t help that these weren’t signed/labelled!

Remember these are the options I looked at for the Mutianyu site, other sections like the popular and closer Badaling section will vary.

Bus stop

UPDATE: It seems they may have ditched the “express” 936 service and replaced it with the 867, however the stop seems to be the same. There is also mention of a 916, see Lonely Planet for more details.

Up the wall
Once at the wall, there are a bunch of different options to choose from depending on your available time, patience and stamina. The bus stop (cabs and carparks) are at the bottom of the mountain away from the wall. The ticket office and entry in itself is a bit of a steep walk to get to, made no easier with having to run the gauntlet of hecklers selling just about anything with the obligatory Wall reference.

Travel tip: Remember to bargain hard and never feel like you’re low balling them. Supply always far outweighs the demand.

From the entrance you have a choice of a hike up the mountain to the wall or a cable car. We figured since we were already going to be doing a bunch of walking we’d choose the relaxing trip on the cable car. If you are trekking to the untouched re: “wild” sections of this wall section then this is the way to go, it drops you at tower 14 and with 34 towers for this section itll save you some energy as well! We chose to head in the other direction back to tower 5.

Cable cars

The wall was constructed purely as a strategic military point of defence and offence (remnants of cannons still remain) and it becomes very clear once you’re on it how difficult it would be for any invading army to even begin to think of how to get across the mountains and foothills let alone the wall as well. So with that in mind, there’s no “easy parts”, its constantly up and down with uneven paving and stairs. This is where good quality hiking shoes are a must. Thongs (flip flops), sandals, “girlie” shoes or cheap/poor support/cushioning sneakers will leave you with more than just blisters or a rolled ankle before you pass your first tower. Water is a must as well but there are vendors along the way selling drinks, ice creams and even beer, just remember to use the bins provided or take your rubbish with you even if it is overly tempting to follow suit with the locals and hoik it over the wall.

The wall quite literally goes on forever, its hard to fathom the sheer man power and materials required to be such an epic structure which you feel with every step. Step long enough and you’ll make it to tower 6 and salvation! Well maybe not but its your ticket out of there, not just in style but with speed (for the most part anyway) as this is the top of the toboggan ride!

This is similar to a lot of toboggan rides around the world, small single person sled with a manual stop/go lever down a metal chute. This was great fun but would have been even better if we could get more than a couple corners at a quicker pace. Sadly like a lot of these rides, there’s the token “Henny Penny” that will scream and clutch at the ground with their fingernails if they could, even if they’re travelling at a snails pace. The signs warning NOT to brake as it will cause accidents were useless and at least half the ride was more like returning traffic on the last day of a long weekend. For those thinking that you could some how get hurt if you go down at full speed, there are signs telling you when to brake and judging from the way the track is laid out, you would be hard pressed to hurt yourself, even if you were being stupid. Either way it made the return journey quick and reasonably effortless.

Toboggan ride

By now you’ve probably worked up an appetite and if you’ve timed it right, you’ll have just enough time to grab a bite before the return bus arrives. Food choice is limited to a small selected on local cuisine or Subway. Like a lot of western fast food places, Subway staff spoke a little English but mainly in the form of menu items, any deviation from this required the usual gesturing and improv’ charades.

The line for the bus grows quickly so its best to line up as soon as you can to get a seat, if not you will have to stand or sit on the floor, which is rather uncomfortable for the quite lengthy ride.

Next up we continue the China must see’s and track ourselves down some Pandas!

Beijing 2011 part #1 – Arrival + Temple of Heaven, Forbidden City
Beijing 2011 part #3 – Beijing Zoo
Beijing 2011 part #4 – Shopping

Beijing photo gallery here
Beijing Zoo photo gallery here

After having to shoot the Nine Sons of Dan guys for the Time Off Live cover, the preliminary research pricked our ears up and they were quickly placed on the “gotta see them live” list. Fast forward a bit and they’re headlining a gig at the Zoo! Unfortunately we missed the support of Burning Brooklyn, Awaken I Am and We Were Giants all worthy to see in their own right but the main event was worth the wait. Great selection of song styles and tempos and a vocal not too unlike Brandon Boyd of Incubus which definitely isn’t a bad thing in our books 😉

See below for the highlight photos of the event and grab this week’s Time Off magazine for a full review of the night.

More Nine Sons of Dan @ The Zoo photos here


Running Gun Sound are in for this week’s Time Off Magazine Live cover shoot. They chat about being chavs and meeting guys online.

Check them out in this week’s issue #1587.

Get it FREE from all the usual street press outlets or read current and back issues online @ Time Off magazine – Brisbane

Mmm...sneakers! Nom nom nom

The Artisan gallery is currently hosting two great exhibits for the price of one at one great price… FREE!

The main event is a broad cross section of sneaker styles, purposes and colours; some iconic, some WTF but most dialing in some form of wow factor. The display is set to a rough time line of major sneaker related events through out their history. Individual items are also numbered and are available for look up via a Supercheap Auto oil/air filter, paint code booklet on a chain deal. Some random facts are also included which made for hushed gallery library voices to be broken with honks of chuckling.

As a bonus, a side feature of the exhibit includes the Converse Blank Canvas Project where plain Chuck Taylor Cons were given to local artists to customise or convert. Some pieces were outlandish and featured a lot of intricate work while others seem like they were thrown together during morning tea at a Westfield arts and crafts kids minding stand. However, my favourite pieces weren’t artist pieces but the anatomy of a Chuck and the history of Converse wall (even if there weren’t any of the ERX series!).

Our buds over at Sneaker Freaker provided a fair portion of the exhibits and information so if you’ve been around the traps you may have seen quite a few of the items before but its still worth a look to see them all in the one place (and pick up a free copy of Sneaker Freaker mag 😉 ).

Even if you only have even a passing interest in funky footwear and 20min to spare after you’ve stuffed yourself at Harajuku Gyoza then its definitely worth a look.

The exhibit runs till August 16, 2012.

More Sneaker exhibit photos here

This week we’ve got Mr Maps for the Time Off Magazine Live cover shoot.

Check them out in this week’s issue #1586.

Get it FREE from all the usual street press outlets or read current and back issues online @ Time Off magazine – Brisbane

For this week’s Time Off Magazine Live cover shoot we bring the darkness with fire breathers Defamer.

Check them out in this week’s issue #1585.

Get it FREE from all the usual street press outlets or read current and back issues online @ Time Off magazine – Brisbane

This week’s Time Off Magazine Live cover shoot we have the larrikans from SpitFireLiar, they make with the lol’s talking about their skills as mathmagicians and urinal sword fighting in Amsterdam!

Check them out in this week’s issue #1584.

Get it FREE from all the usual street press outlets or read current and back issues online @ Time Off magazine – Brisbane

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