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kiting, diving, trippin' I ain't never been lost, just confused for a few days - Daniel Boone

Walls, Warriors and Ancient Villages

CHINA | Monday, 29 October 2007 | Views [955]

Xi'an is definitely a must see in this country. The Terracotta Warriors have called the country, 40 kms to the west, home for close to 2000 years, there are the remains of an ancient village, Emporers tombs by the truckload, some of the best markets in the country and a feel that holds a lot of people in for a few extra days instead of racing off on the next leg of their journey/adventure.

I did a walk around the city from on top of the wall one day (and laid up for the next three, reccommend hiring a bike) and had a great time checking out the gates and their attractions. Met a couple of people doing the same and next thing you know we're off to see the Warriors next day after an international competition in alcohol consumption that night. Damn those Irishmen can drink. AND LAUGH. Using the phrasebook's pick up lines wasn't quite the success we expected, but it got a lot of laughs, especially when Paddy tried it on.

We did a trip with a group from two hostels in town out to the Terracotta Warriors and ended up with 29 people. Not exactly the way most of us like to travel but it was all good just the same. In China tour leaders hold up a flag to guide their group around so they don't get lost. Ours tried to do that and got it confiscated almost straight away but it was replaced with a sunflower so she didn't feel so bad. This girl was on her first tour group outing and was nervous so stealing her flag wasn't a good start. Then we convinced her not to hold the microphone in two hands when talking to us on the bus, showing confidence, and before long she was singing traditional chinese tunes and having a ball. As was the local guy who got her sunflower and ate all the seeds.

The warriors are an eye opener. Read up on them, then you'll realise what power and vanity do to people. Still even with the huge crowd it was worth a look. Sort of 'been there, done that' really.

Ban Po village was another stop for the day. This is a prehistoric village with only the foundations, skeletons and drains from the village left behind. Most of it is well looked after and under cover just like the warriors to preserve it for the tourists.

After the obligatory day wandering the city checking out the muslim quarter and their markets, the Drum Tower performances and the mosques, temples etc. it was off to Beijing to find some of the little things that can't be found in Shuozhou. Or so I thought. My 11 AM flight took off at 3:30 and I was one of the lucky ones. This time of year fog plays havoc with air travel and at one point another guy in Wehai had boarded his plane twice, been kicked off twice and caught a flight next day. By the next day the airport was chaos and we were meant to be heading out the following morning. Vera from work and I decided to head out to see the Great Wall. A cable car to the top then walk, mostly downhill,along the top of yet another wall to the path heading down proved a good plan. At the place we visited the wall, there are a heap of apricot trees with fading leaves and with the fog through the hills it was really nice. Of course this is China so there are no shortage of tourists but by the time we got there around midday a lot had already gone. Once we got back to the carparks and through the hawkers (I can barter in Chinese too now - sort of) and a hand full of dried apricots it was back to the big smoke of Beijing. Four of us decided we'd go out for dinner as Vera was off back to Aus, so we hired a cab to take us to the lakes with the restaurants on them. 'Gary you really need to be more specific', they said. 'Mei wen ti', I told them and off we went. I was sitting in the back arguing with the driver. Vera is in the front because she's the only one who speaks fluent mandarin and all we did was laugh all the way around the Forbidden City, over Beihai lake and past the hospital to where we gave up on this guy and stepped out. Next thing we're in another cab and by this time my credibility has been shot. The driver has only just moved to Beijing and is ringing his boss to find the lake. 60 yuan later we're back where we started eating caeser salad and drinking Tsingtao five minutes walk from the hotel.  

Didn't do the shopping and found the Houhai lake on the map for next trip

Look out Harbin in January !

Tags: Sightseeing

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