Water, water everywhere and not a drop in our flat
Trip Start Sep 03, 2011
54Trip End Jun 04, 2012
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Saturday we were picked up by our Taxi driver, David who took us out to the Terracotta Warriors which is a 45 minute drive out of Xi'an. On the way there we first stopped at the workshop that makes the Terracotta Warrior replicas (they must have been the good quality ones) where of course there was opportunity to buy some and there were some other quality ceramic items and furniture on show but nothing that we could take with us that would survive a round the world trip or a mail trail from Xi'an to Australia. Next stop was the Banpo Village, which was an amazing discovery made back in the 1950s when they were preparing to build an electricity station.(The electricity station/factory ended up being built elsewhere.) They discovered the remains of a 6000 year old Neolithic village. It was located on a small hill and originally located on the bank of the Chanhe River, Ban means half and Po means hill. I will have to see if the kids have any decent photos to share of the site. It was like something you would see on "Time team" but it had been preserved for public viewing undercover, post holes, pits, hut foundations and even the remains of bones and half exposed burials were on display.
Finally we arrived at the Terracotta Warriors after using a specially built toll road that got you to the site quicker. First we had some lunch at a place that David had a deal set up with. It was good, pork and peppers and chicken with peanuts and beef and noodle soup with a serve of rice each. When we finally got to the Warriors after lunch it was pouring down with rain and it was PACKED!!!! with Chinese tourists. They must have come from everywhere for a Chinese Autumn festival holiday and what else do you do on a holiday break in Xi'an ... go to see the Terracotta Warriors.The warriors were undercover in three main shelters. We managed to get ushered into the shop that one of the two surviving farmers who made the discovery in 1974 sat and whose job now was to be the Warrior mascot who signed the official book and had his photo taken with paying tourists. The whole village area has now been developed by the government for the local villagers who were farmers, to now make a living off the Terracotta warrior tourists instead of farming and digging up the warriors. The warriors were created by the Emperor at the time so that they could be buried with him in his tomb when he died, just a bit excessive but an amazing effort. Then our last but reluctant stop (because by this stage we were wet, cold and miserable) was the Huaqgong Springs which had been hot springs that had been in use in the 1100s and used by royalty and officials and one of the Emperors wives who lived in the area.
Sunday we couldn't find where they met for church, so we made our way back to the apartment, wet, but we did meet a nice man who tried to help us get to the building we thought they met at and he took us across the busy road in his black lexus.
Sunday afternoon there was a knock at the door, it was a guy talking Chinese to us and we didn't know what he was saying, he looked in and stepped in but we were unable to communicate. Later on Shu Yen our "accomadation liason' turned up to let us know that they were going to cut off the water at 9 am tomorrow (so we thought) so she took us down to the 2nd floor with buckets and we filled up our buckets and brought them back up. Then she left and we went to make dinner (bought a piece of pork, green veges and noodles) and hello there was no water, oh she must have meant no water until 9 am tomorrow ( I had been wondering why she had taken us down to get the water, der!.
Finally on Monday the repair guy, Shu Yen and her friend Bai Lee turned up there was a lot of conversation and phone calls and smoking (yes in the apartment, don't mind our coughing) then the other guys with tools turned up and the water didn't start until 4.00pm
They didn't leave until 6.00 in the evening. We had water but with all the rain the drain from the kitchen had been leaking into the apartment below so they had to run a makeshift hose into the laundry drain. So were finallly able to shower and have running water. Then on top of that the washing machine wouldnt finish it's cycle we had wet clothes and dirty clothes piling up, but it had stoped raining finally.
Hannah and I thought we could go on the wall and rent a tandem bike and ride around the wall. So with Campbell we paid to go up to the wall only to find no bikes because it was slippery, very dissappointed!!! So we had a nice walk around the wall anyway and spent a nice couple of hours talking.
Tuesday we found the Great Mosque and the market. and some great finds like an ornamental/decorative knife for my dad, which we are hoping that Australia post will kindly let into the country, if not it was only $20AUD. The Wild goose pagoda, yes another Buddhist temple was amazing. We let the kids climb inside while we watched.
Wednesday Hannah and I tried the wall again and yes we finally rode the tandem bike around the wall, it was one of my highlights of the trip so far. We got back at 5pm and then finished packing and cleaning so that we could leave for the railway station to catch the train to Beijing at 7.21pm. What a race that was, it was peak hour, taxis wouldn't stop so we took the subway then ended up walking about a kilometre with our back packs and extras to find the station packed, but we made it onto the train with only 10 mins. to spare.
This train ride not as comfortable as the first one. I thought my jeans were uncomfortable but discovered that my butt had been bruised from being squeezed by the back bike handles. Ouch! The trip was supposed to get in at 8.30am but we got in at 11.30am. The train had slowed down throughout the trip, we discovered on arrival to the hostel that the delays had been caused by a train accident a day earlier and it was taking a while to clean up the area. Needless to say the approach into Beijing was exciting and we looked forward to our arrival.
Beijing is a different city from the other two and we like it!!