Started the Year in Xi'an

Trip Start Aug 15, 2012
Trip End Jul 29, 2013

Flag of China  , Shaanxi,
Thursday, January 3, 2013

Eventually got off on my delayed Xmas trip on New Years Eve. Morgan and myself caught the fast train to Xi'an at 8:30 am, which is an early start for me here. It was Morgan's first trip to Xi'an. The fast train to Xi'an is fantastic. It was a bit slower than before and only averaged around 230km/hour. They are very comfortable and quite spacious. The train stations are amazing - just like airports as they are all new. We got to Xi'an at about 10:30 and caught the metro into the city. It was easy to find where we were going as the hotel was right near the Bell Tower which is right in the middle of the old town. All the main streets cross it. Actually, our hotel was near the Drum Tower, which is a hundred metres or so away.
Quite happy with the hotel as it was right near the Muslim quarter and walking distance to everything in town, but of course we didn't want to go to the things that were nearby.  We did, however, start with the Muslim markets and street area and then walked through through the Mosque. I had some street food which was like pita bread stuffed with corned beef. It was quite tasty and filled a hole. It was far better than the restaurant I went to the last time we were in Xi'an.
Morgan's flatmate  Danielle, who lived in Xi'an for awhile, told us to visit the temple that was just outside the Old City. This was easier said than done, as the taxi drivers didn't want to take us there as they said it was too close but it wasn't. Eventually someone gave us directions to a bus and we caught one. It is much easier travelling with someone who can stop and ask the locals where to go. The temple was okay and just like many temples around China. This one was quite big and it looked quite prosperous as I suppose the city people earn a bit more money to give to the temple to maintain it. I can't think of anything very special about it.
We left there and were going to catch a cab but once again they wouldn't take us to the Wild Goose Pagoda as it was too close. We walked for ages before we came across it. I was quite exhausted by the time we got there and  decided that Morgan needed to have a "Burger King" experience. I know they had a good toilet so was quite happy to have a burger there. It is right at the pagoda site. We walked around the bottom of the water feature and up along the far side and around to the front. There were a lot of people about as it was a school holiday. We paid to go into the temple which is attached to the pagoda. The Great Ci'en temple and Dayan Pagoda are quite famous. There was a ceremony going on in the temple where a lot of women, all in uniform were leaving offerings. Around the back of the temple was the entrance to the pagoda- another charge to get in. It was built in 652 AD and served as a place for the Monk to translate the Buddhist scriptures. The original pagoda only had 5 stories which would have been better for me but it was later rebuilt when the Empress was in power. The present Dayan pagoda has seven stories and it 64.5 metres high. Actually, after climbing the stairs, I think they have it wrong, as it seemed much higher than that. I am quite proud of myself as I got to the top and survived.
After the temple and pagoda I was exhausted so I decided that I needed to stop touristing for the day. We caught the bus back and found our hotel quite easily.
The next day were were up early as Morgan had never seen the Terracotta Warriors. The idea was to catch a taxi to the train station and then catch a bus to the Warriors. But remember I said earlier that the taxis didn't like taking us on a short trip. So we walked around in circles under the Bell Tower looking for a train station. We then decided that the line that goes under the city is not the line that is needed to get to the railway station. One kind person told us we had to catch a bus to the train station. So it was back up on ground level to look for a bus. We arrived at the train station and had to find East Courtyard. When we eventually found that there were a mile of people all lining up to catch the buses to the Warriors. A couple of touts eventually persuaded me to hire a taxi. This suited me much better but Morgan didn't really like the idea very much as it was too expensive. $50 for an hour and a half ride there and back isn't too expensive in my book. We were dropped off and given instructions on how to find the entrance as it has all been built up with shops since I was there a few years ago. We actually got a little bus up to the front gate where were were dropped off last time.
We wandered around and looked at the cinema first which explains some of the story, that is if you can understand Chinese. We then went to the pits 1,2 &3. There is also a museum there that I can't remember being there last time.It is an amazing place.
When we were outside the place I was starting to get very hungry and we came across a stall selling food that originated in Morgan's province of Shendong. It was an egg pancake with some brown stuff that I took as sauce, some shallots and lettuce. Then the lady put some cracker -like bits in to make it crunchy. It tasted okay. Then we found our taxi driver and we were off home again. At the beginning of the trip he said he would drop us back at the hotel but he reneged on that and only took us back to the train station and told us where to catch the bus back to the Drum tower. He said that it was cheaper for us to pay 1 yuan than he pay a heap in petrol. The traffic is pretty bad inside the walled city so I can understand his reasoning. They never do what they promise at the beginning. There is always a catch and sometimes it is wanting more money but at least he didn't ask for more.
I got off at the Drum Tower and Morgan went off to explore the Wall. I had done that a few weeks ago so I wasn't going to do it again. I much preferred to sit in Starbucks and read a book. After a couple of hours Morgan was back and said her phone had been stolen. It was taken out of her pocket and she didn't realize it. It was a sad ending after a couple of great days. We were warned about the pick pockets in Xi'an.
We caught the metro back to Beiyuan and then the train back to Luoyang. We were home in bed by 9:30 so that was pretty good.

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Helen Watkins on

I loved the warriors also. Amazing place. I have now caught up with all your blogs as I have the time to read them and I am enjoying them immensely. I am also enjoying the fact that I don't have to jump out of bed every morning at 6am to rush to get ready for work. I won't be doing that again in a hurry. Happy new year and I think you hair looks pretty good considering it was the second best hairdresser. Must be about time for another visit.

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