Tuesday - 20 September - Xi'an
From there we headed toward the airport, stopping for another great meal [ and saying goodbye to Vyvian, our Beijing guide ]. We're all becoming so adept with chopsticks that the weight loss thing isn't likely to happen. The flight to Xi'an involved the usual airport hassles and luggage dragging but was uneventful.
Once in Xi'an, we met our local guide, Lily, and went to a Western buffet for dinner, a 1-hour drive - french fries! Spaghetti! Dessert! [ normally our only dessert is slices of watermelon ]. Then on to the hotel to rest up for the next round tomorrow. Traffic is heavy and noisy, so we hope it calms down soon or sleep will be impossible. We left Betsy [ injured the first day ] behind in Beijing. Her test results will be in tomorrow and her son arrives
Thursday to take her home. What shame that she had no pleasure out of this trip.
[ I spent more than an hour sorting out the strange Chinese instruction on setting up the internet connection. The instructions were not only in Chinese but they were wrong (basically I had to set up a static ip address and use the dns
servers for Cogeco in Burlington). Anyway it is on, it's fast and it seems to be free. So we may get farther in China on highspeed internet than I thought ]
[...later. I spoke too soon; the connection does everything but upload. I will have to upload by email
Wednesday, 21 September - Xi'an
Lots of walking again today. We visited the Terra Cotta
Warriors site, stopping on the way at a factory that makes reproduction
warriors. They also sell locally-made lacquer- ware and that was very tempting,
along with the beautiful silk rugs. At the site we were all amazed to see these
thousands of figures in three excavated areas, all under protective roofs.
We learned a lot about the Qin dynasty and so on. As well as the warriors, there are two bronze chariots, about 1/2 life size, which were unearthed near the tomb [ of the emperor ] .
We drove back to the hotel for a break, and we and the McNaughts headed out to explore the neighbourhood. Very interesting tiny stores, more like stalls, along all the streets.
Then we went off to a dinner theatre, with a truly spectacular show, based on Han dynasty music and dance. One guy did a duck imitation that had everyone roaring. Then some of us [ not me ] went for massage or reflexology sessions. I had foot reflexology and it was great. Now everyone is resting up for tomorrow. The massage experience was very different from anything any of us had had before. Sometimes quite painful and for Jane and Gray, very ticklish. There were lots of squeals and giggles. We were 2 to a booth in big recliners for the reflexology. First we soaked our feet in an herbal brew, then they were vigourously massaged, pulled, slapped and shaken, working up to our knees. Then we rolled on our stomachs and they did back shoulders and neck. There we sat in front of the masseuse and she did more work on our backs, ending by suspending us on her knees for 30 seconds or so. That was a bit painful, but felt like it was releasing tension. The people who had the full-body massage said the masseuses really did walk on their backs. It was very refreshing 70 minutes.
Day5: Xi'an, Terra Cotta
Warriors, Dinner Theatre,Diamond Hotel,Street Tour
Thursday, 22 September - Xi'an - Chongqing
Phew! They really keep us moving \ of course it's the only way to see everything we want to. First on today's program was visit to a jade factory where we had a short lesson in the qualities of jade and saw people working on carvings, then had lots of time to shop. Some people got terrific stuff but our money stayed in our wallets. From there we went on to the Shaanxi History Museum which has relics and treasure from several dynasties
that had an important presence in this province. Really interesting, and gives a very good sense of how far ahead Chinese culture was a
Next was the Big Wild Goose Pagoda and Temple, where Larry and several others made it to the top of the pagoda [ not as
high as the CN Tower but maybe half ] while many of us lounged in a garden
pavilion. It's a Buddhist shrine, so there were candles, incense and statues, but the peace and stillness of the gardens were most welcome after our hectic touring.
We moved along to another part of the same complex, making our way through construction debris and had a tour and lesson about the fashions and art of the Han dynasty and a demonstration of calligraphy, followed of course by a shopping op. Again, we bought none of the beautiful paintings available [ but McNaughts did ]. We ended our day with a visit to the ancient wall.
It is high and wide and continuous around the central part of the city [ 14 km and the McNaughts and others did a bike ride around it. ].
We walked little way, and enjoyed the view of all the construction underway. They're restoring many old buildings along the wall.
It was explained to us that in China when your buy an apartment it's just a shell - no doors, windows, maybe no interior walls, no plumbing fixtures. So people had obviously moved into one of these apartments before any of that was done. My goodness!!
The McNaughts and several others went cycling and did the whole circuit ( about 9 miles). They said it was a rough ride. Of course that wasn't the end of one day.
All Pictures Day4/5: Xi'an
[ClickPic: Xi'an - how to move a table
[ClickPic: digging a hotel foundation, Xi'an style
[ClickPic: Terracotta Warriors, Pitt 1
[ClickPic: Terracotta Warrior and Horse, Pitt 1
[ClickPic: 3 T-C Horses, Pitt 1
[ClickPic: Bronze Chariot
[ClickPic:Jan and M-E at train station, Xi'an
[ClickPic:Jan , M-E and Dave on street, Xi'an
[ClickPic:Jan,M-E, Larry and Dave at Wild Goose Pagoda, Xi'an
[ClickPic:Jan on the top of wall, Xi'an
[ClickPic:Moving in early from wall, Xi'an
All Pictures Day4/5:to Xi'an