Trip Start Apr 02, 2008
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of China  , Shaanxi,
Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Couldn't get a train to Xi'an (walled city, steeped in history, main stop to view terracotta warriors). They were full up with post-Olympic fans and athletes, so we flew in the end. When we arrived in the city centre, we asked a random girl on the street how to get to the Hostel. She had really good English (which she learnt to earn some extra money for University), she took our map and asked about eight more people for directions along the way. She walked us to the door. Everyone we have asked directions from in China have proved as nice - walking us to our destination, irregardless of whether they're headed the same direction or not. Hostel was nice. They've a dog and a cat who vie for attention. The cat wins out, getting people at a height (on the reception table - ready for stroking) while the dog definitely gets the crumbs from everybody's table. He must have a stomach of lead.  The tour from the Hostel to the Terracotta Warriors had already departed for the day, but the girl in reception told us we could make our own way out. So, we hopped on a local bus to get the bus 306 which would take us there. The roof of the first bus was so low Michael didn't need hands to hold on..he just pressed his head against the roof.  Xi'an was certainly different to Olympic Beijing. Crazy Traffic, smoking bus drivers and local stares like we had just landed from planet Zog. Got to the 'pits' at about 3pm. Really amazing to see in person. Pit 1 - probably the most infamous - was busy so we took a walk around to the other pits (where excavations continue), returning to Pit 1 at about 5pm when it was easier to view. Got an audio guide, which wasn't worth it. On our return back to Xi'an we went to the Muslim Quarter which is absolute madness. Spent our time jumping out of the way of bicycles, scooters and cars on very narrow, busy streets. The next day we visited a Wildlife Rescue Centre housing a number of endangered animals, including Pandas. Great to see up close, each of them with their own personalities. We got to feed one of them Bamboo. The Orange Monkeys were also a good laugh, belting each other out of the way for a few meagre leaves.  That evening we went to the small pagoda outside the city wall, climbed to the top where we met a Canadian Journalist. The three of us exchanged pleasantries, as we wiped the sweat from our faces. There's also a Museum at the site, which we dipped into.  That evening we went up on the Xi'an Wall. It's fairly wide and you can rent bikes on top. We didn't have enough cash for the deposit so we took a walk instead. Back to the Hostel for yet another early night. Still sleeping off the Olympics!
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