The Terracotta Warriors

Trip Start Apr 14, 2008
Trip End Nov 11, 2008

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Where I stayed

Flag of China  , Shaanxi,
Saturday, July 5, 2008

Day 80. This is becoming all to common.....

I arrived at the city center at 3.30am. The backpackers' I wanted to stay at was locked. But in a city of 7 million and major tourist destination, it was not hard to find a 24hr McDonald's to hang out at. There were a few Asian's after a night out there, half sleeping like me. Around 5.30 a group of English guys after a large one crashed the joint.
Around 6 I went to find a way in to the hostel. Access denied I laid on the street like a tramp till someone helpfully took me to a reception area. There I took the lift to a locked door that no one would open. Returning to the reception I asked for the Hostel number to ring but they seemed to suggest it was closed.
Hitting the main, more expensive hostel in town was no disappointment. Despite the tiredness I booked myself onto a T.Army tour at 9.30 with others from the hostel. This Bell Tower hostel has a fantastic central restaurant/bar to hangout with free wifi! After breakfast I went down to reception for the tour, tired, dazed & confused. There I met Andrea from Chicago also on the tour. Around 8 of us in total completed with German's and Poles.
First stop Banpo Neolithic Village. This was on the site of foundations of a 5000 yr old village. We heard about how they lived, died & sacrificed! All interesting, however the outside area was kind of wired & tacky.
Moving on, and to build us up for the big army we were taken to a session on how terracotta figures are manufactured. Of course we got some great information before exiting via a gift shop that had everything. The shop was twice the area of the factory floor.
Then to the Armies! Here the party broke up. It was crazy, there was to little viewing area for the amount of tourists. After fighting crowds for an hour I power napped under a tree to rejuvenate. See pictures.
Returning to the hostel and after a SSS I met Andrea at the restaurant. A feed, then we took a taxi to big goose pagoda where a large fountain display goes off to music for half hour at 9pm (see picture).
There was Olympic souvenirs everywhere. Want your own Olympic torch?

We were contemplating watching the (real) torch ceremony being held in the city the following morning. But after returning to the hostel, meeting friends & partying till 4am.....a 7am start was unreasonable.

Day 81. Independence Day

More realistically the following day we rode round the City Wall at midday. After that we visited the major sites in the city finishing up at the Muslim Quarters. The group from the night before were disbanding, it was raining & I was tired. Time to get a proper night sleep for a 9am flight the following day.

Overall impression of Xi'an was excellent. Very welcoming city for tourists and a break from the country by-my-self-ness.
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