The Most Amazing Waste of Money

Trip Start Aug 28, 2012
Trip End Aug 09, 2013

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Flag of China  , Shaanxi,
Saturday, February 16, 2013

16-17th Feb - Xi'an

We arrived in Xi'an with nowhere to go next; in Beijing we couldn't book tickets out nor could we book tickets to or from anyway else. We also arrived in Xi'an with the hope of leaving on the same day. So naturally as soon as we arrived in Xi'an after our 12 hour sleeper train at 8:30am we went straight to the ticket offices, where luckily we found the "foreigner" desk. It turns out that train was our last sleeper train as the remainder could only be sitting or standing :( We booked our next 2 trains, one leaving Xi'an the next day and our train between Chengdu and Guilin; both seated, one a 26 hour train :S We finally found space on a train to Shanghai but standing so thought we'd look into buses.

Now with the need of finding somewhere to stay in Xi'an we phoned the recommended hostel from our last hostel for which we had the leaflet. They had space for the 3 of us in a dorm for 4 each for the night. Off we went in a taxi to find out we were actually staying in their sister hostel which we past in the taxi. After complaining we'll have to carry our bags we got the room for 3.50 instead! The hostel Hantang House was amazing: it had a massive bar and restaurant area and our 8 bed dorm was really big with a table and clean, separate sink, toilet and shower. On the down side the food was v.v.expensive and our room smelt of boy! As soon as we were in we were more or less out to grab a taxi to the Terracotta Warriors. We bargained the driver to 10 off his initial price to 20 for there and back (between us for an hours drive each way). To further add to the money saving we managed to all get student entry tickets for half the price :)

The Terracotta Warriors was completely different to what I was expecting it to be. Based on films I've seen them in, I thought they were just in lines for you to walk around abduction look at. What it was was so much better: the whole site was still an excavation site where they were still digging up the warriors. It turns out (after Laura being our tour guide through a audio tour) that the whole site remained hidden for 2000 years before it was discovered under a well only 20 years ago and since then it has been an archaeological site with people working on it every day since.

The site is split up into 3 pits with an estimated 6000 warrior statues guarding the sarcophagus of Emperor Qin. The different statues are all individually different by face, clothing, armour, position and status; it was just a phenomenal site, the best yet on our travels. I was in awe and pretty speechless when I saw the sight and still can't believe how amazing it was! To be honest it made me think that either the Emperor or his followers (we don't know who's idea it was and who carried it out) had bucket loads of cash to pay people to sculpt a massive fake army for a dead King... then for it to be buried and not mentioned in history for no one to know its existence! Waste of money! But the following emperor tried to burn it down so he must've been jealous and I'm glad they did it because it is a magnificent sight!

On the way back to our taxi we got a very late lunch of something new and extremely tasty: on a hot plate the lady spread pancake mixture, then an egg, garlic, spring peppers, hoisin sauce (not enough!), lettuce and a sausage (for a but extra) = yum! Once back we went out again to the train station to book the standing tickets from Guilin to Shanghai - SOLD OUT :O Oh dear... Panic struck abduction back at the hostel I got searching for flights. I managed to find them on a Chinese website on which they only accepted a Chinese card. Luckily a guy working in the hostel said we could use his...after 15minutes it didst work and we were stuck again. Then by pure desperation I luckily found a Chinese flights website that bot only was in English but took Visa! Thank God. All travel now sorted for the rest of China; weight off mind and no longer worried about not getting to Shanghai for our flight :)

The plan now for China is cheap, cheap, cheap so for dinner we had pot noodles and for the next few breakfasts we will be having favoured yoghurt with porridge oaks soaked in it and dried fruit! Surprisingly tasty and also our plan for Australia to further shrimp and save! But then for lunch on the train we decided to vary it up a bit and splurge out with a massive 2 for yum yum yum SUBWAY - most people know I love subway - its better here! Bread better and the honey mustard is creamy and amazing (talking about food once again)!

A very, very brisk visit to Xi'an but an enjoyable one none the less and a city that definitely seems pretty cool and one that, if had the chance, would have been good to explore.
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Lynne (Laura's mum) on

My favourite breakfast if oats soaked in yoghurt with added fruit, so I would have fitted in well as a travel companion. However, I must tell you one day about the nightmare I had the other night in my sleep where Ray and I joined you on your travels for a few days...... Love reading your blogs as well as Laura's - yours are usually up to date! x

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