Trip Start Sep 21, 2007
Trip End Apr 10, 2009

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Friday, October 26, 2007

Hi everybody,
Here's the my newest travelogue. Last time I was about to sleep and go the next day to the terracotta army, so that's where I will start then.
To be honest, the terracotta army was not quite as we expected. I mean, it was still beautiful and the view of all those terracotta soldiers row by row were quite exquisite, but they were shown in a big hall. What it comes down to is that they covered the whole pit (there were 3 of them, but only Pit 1 is the really interesting one) with a building what could be a factory hall or sports venue. Apart from the different idea we had beforehand, and the little disappointment as a result, it was still worth the 90 yuan (about 9 euro). We also forgot the time a little bit and so we hurried back to Xi'an, but of course the traffic was very busy and we arrived at Xi'an train station at 4 o'clock. But we still needed to pick up our luggage at the hostel. Buses were too slow and taxis were not very willing to take us, so we had high stress levels at this time. In the end we had about 20 minutes left when we finally sat in the train.
The train took us to Chengdu. On the train station in Chengdu we met two Dutch, Floor and Chantal and we took a cab together to a hostel and shared a dorm there. After that we did some sightseeing and went to two tea houses - one at a temple complex and one in the People's Park (very relaxed). At the last tea house we met Danish guy Daniel. After that the five of us went to a restaurant, a hotpot restaurant. Hotpot is traditional Sichuanese (Chengdu is in the Sichuan province) for simply said a very hot type of fondue. Imagine chilis instead of cheese! Steam almost came out of our heads and we sweated a lot and were red faced pretty much all the time. Great fun though! 
The next day the five of us went to Leshan, about 2 hours south of Chengdu. The attraction of Leshan is Dafo, the 71 meter high sitting Buddha (the largest in the world supposedly). This Dafo was set in a huge park with a lot of other beautiful Buddhas, temples and rock carvings. But the Buddha was probably even impressive than we would've imagined. Truly a wonderful sight! We had a great day here.
The following day Inger and I continued our trip in China to Guilin. But not before we paid a visit to the Giant Panda Breeding Centre here in Chengdu. Basically a Giant Panda Zoo, we saw quite a few giant pandas and red pandas as well. We also saw some really tiny giant pandas (sounds like a contradiction doesn't it?) being fed. Beautiful cuddly animals! The rest of the day we relaxed and in the evening we got on the train to Guilin.
The Guilin train trip took a bit over 24 hours and took us to the south of China, where the temperature is very reasonable, with about 30 degrees Celsius. The landscape near Guilin is very nice as well with a lot of steep and rocky hills. In the train I ate something wrong and I became a little sick afterwards. In the bus from Guilin to Yangshuo it eventually happened and I had to vomit (luckily enough I was prepared with plastic bags). In Yangshuo we stay at the same hotel I stayed at 4 years ago. I went to bed pretty much straight away.
The first full day in Yangshuo we didn't do much at all, me being sick and all. The day after that we were very active and we cycled to a place called Dragon Bridge. Here we put our bikes on a bamboo raft and we got rafted (sounds exciting, but it was very slow, very relaxing actually) for about 1,5 hours. This trip on the Yulong river was great and the scenery stunning. After the boat trip we continued with our bicycles through rice fields and more beautiful scenery. back in our hotel we had a nice and well earned shower and that evening we hit town and did the karaoke thing we promised each other in Russia we would do in China.
Yesterday we did another active thing: rock climbing! It was very hot, the rock very steep and sharp, and ourselves we got pretty exhausted, but we had a great half day. Inger got a bit sick after that, so the rest of the day we relaxed for a while. Today we do some more relaxing and we are basically waiting for our transport to Hong Kong this evening. Meanwhile, we are doing the necessary internet things and keep up with our diary. Inger is going to Hong Kong on a sleeper bus (cheaper) and I am going to Hong Kong on a train, so that I did the whole trip from Amsterdam to Hong Kong by train. We are going to meet in Hong Kong again!
That's it for now. I hope you enjoyed reading it again!
By the way, I also uploaded a lot more pictures also in older entries!
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