OUR TWO days of boredom in
Day 01 10.02.08AD
The train fare cost us 510rmb. It’s quite expensive but we were provided a small but comfortable bed inside a train cabin for 4 passengers so we could survive a 15 hrs ride to our destination. In
In our cabin, we met this middle age and a very interesting Chinese lady now carrying a Swiss passport. I forgot her name but she conversed in English very well. She shared tales of her life inside and outside of
After dinner we slept awhile and woke up nand still we were not there. Spent few hours in the dining taking booze of local beer served uncold with the train employees on the other side talking and talking loud before calling it day. I had a hard time sleeping on my bed except that I thought it was cool ala Harry Potter going to Hogwarts, but luckily, no Dementors around to piss me off.
Day 02 10.03.08AD
We arrived in Xi ‘an rail depot by 8am and greeted by the City Walls nearby. The morning weather was colder and foggy (or was it smog). In the ticket area, we saw ocean of people (人山人海)on queue buying ticket this scene we expected but the news that there were no available train seats to
So, half day we spent looking for the hotel and thinking how on earth we would go back to
Knowing everything was ok we went inside the City Walls to it’s center, where the north, south east west streets collide, taking pictures of the Bell Tower (西安钟楼), it’s people and the city itself. Xi ‘an was one of the four ancient capital of
On our destination, we were welcome by these big jets of fountains dancing on a square with many spectators encircling in awe. Paid 40rmb again, to enter to a Buddhist territory and had a closer look of the centuries old Giant Wild Goose Pagoda (大雁塔). I concluded that it’s a remarkable piece of ancient ecclesiastical architecture still towering to live another day. Late afternoon we headed back to the hotel to rest a bit and to get some things. The taxi’s flag rate here by the way pegged at 6rmb.
Dark came early, so we returned inside the city center again, roamed and took night shots of the Drum Tower (鼓楼) in Xi Da Jie. There were a lots of lots of souvenir shops in the area but did not buy any. memento What we need that time was to feed ourselves and the Muslim Street (回民街) nearby was a mecca for exotic food you’d never imagined people would eat. There were people everywhere walking, selling, haggling, buying, eating and eating again. I loved the festive atmosphere in the street it was like silk road of the ancient times and we his nomads from the east. In
Day 03 10.04.08AD
The next day we got up early, check out from the hotel, got a cab and rode the number 306 bus for 6rmb to take us in one of the most important archeological treasure of China, The Army of the Terracotta Warriors and Horses (兵马俑). It took us less than an hour to get to the place non stop from the city walls. How popular is the site could be read on hundreds of cars parked outside that early morning. The ticket a bit pricey like 90rmb and there were like three checks and a one long walk to get inside the compound. The first museum we visited gave us a look on these 2 wheeled chariots and story of the finds and the constructions of the museums. The next one housed the biggest pit and there they were Emperor Qin’s Terracotta Army and Horses (and weapons of bronze) unearthed to tell to modern man the history of what was once a great dynasty. I was like 10 minutes in the viewing platform beholding these artifacts of great magnitude. The size and scale and thinking that it’s 210BC material really amazed me but that did not stop me from taking pictures trigger happy. There were 2 more pits and they were great and I love the way the interior space of the museums, generally the architecture, adjusted to the treasures it sheltered. It was really amen to the intricate details of the warriors learning them up close.
On our way out, there was long line of commercial spaces with souvenirs selling figures of the warriors from tiny to life sized. Interestingly, there were many shops selling wolf and fox fur, in all sizes and colors, which would make PETA screaming for foul.
The taxi driver learning that we were going to Qinshinhuang Mausoleum next commented that it was not fun there at all. But still we made a stop. Examining the spot from the gate we knew we would go climbing so we didn’t go. We thought our feet had enough of walking and made to believe that perhaps the cab driver was telling us the truth.
The next taxi driver was again a very kind and Samaritan Xi ‘anese. He was so very helpful and friendly to us in giving us a lift to the foot of Li Shan (
To pamper ourselves we took a cable car to the top of the mountain. On the top, we saw Lintong county covered mostly of afternoon fog and personally felt disappointed. In the brochure, the tour to the mountain was promising but we have less time to carry another that adventure and so we headed back to the inside Xi’an walls and feasted on chicken, beef, egg and rice western style in a cozy restaurant downtown.
By 4.30pm we were Starbucks, near the
It was a great trip. Using Pablo Coelho’s cliché, we believe the universe was conspiring with us all the while. This was a tour really prepared come what may but the outcome went fine, really really fine.