Xi'an stopover

Trip Start Sep 26, 2013
Trip End Oct 26, 2013

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Flag of China  , Shaanxi,
Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Today was our unexpected free day in Xi'an as a result of our train ride into Tibet being canceled. We were up fairly early to catch our transport out to the Terracotta Warriors. Although Gina and I had already seen them last time we came, Lan had not but we were more than happy to go again. Traffic was terrible once again going out possibly due to the fact that today is Independence Day in China so it is a national holiday and most people have the day off. The crowds were busy once we got to the warriors so we had to elbow our way to the front but Gina got more great pictures. It's weird with the difference in cultures, here everyone is what we would consider rude and inconsiderate but that is the way you need to be if you want to get anything. If you act like you do at home you would never get anywhere. We've had no problems adapting to this mentality but its interesting to experience it first hand. With so many people everywhere I guess it has evolved as a means for survival for some people. We spent the entire morning battling the crowds at the warriors. For lunch we had hand pulled noodles. They weren't as good as I remembered from last time but it was still good. Back into traffic for our way back to Xi'an with a rest me du jour along the way.

We got our driver to drop us off at the south gate of the city wall where we could rent bikes and go for a ride. We again did this activity last time but enjoyed it so much we wanted to do it again. Xi'an had one of the only fully intact ancient city walls left in the world which forms a 14km box around the heart of the city. The ride is nice along the top of the wall and the further away from the main access you get the fewer people you encounter. It made for a nice break from the crowds and traffic. We had the bikes for 100 minutes and it took us 95 to make it all the way around with stops for pictures but also moving at a fairly steady pace. The bikes were much better than last time, these once had front suspension which made it a lot better on the cobblestones. We walked back to our hotel from the wall stopping at Dairy Queen for a blizzard on the way back. It was hot as we finally had sun and blue skies.

In the evening we headed over to the Muslim quarter for supper. It is a huge night market that was packed with thousands of people. Again it was an exercise of elbows out and follow the leader. We stopped for supper at a dumpling house on the main market street and we knew it must be good as there was a huge line to get in. Our guide had a few words for the doorman and next thing we were walking down a dark alley next to the restaurant and in through one of the side doors. The only table available was a huge table for 9 so we ended up splitting it with some other random folks. The dumplings were awesome, we had both mutton and beef preferring the mutton. No side dishes needed. After filling our faces with dumplings it was back out into the crowd to make our way back to the hotel. Having a small group really pays off in all of these crowded places as it is much easier to stay together. It was nice to be back at the hotel away from the mass of humanity.

The most important news of the day is that we now have our permits so we can legally get into Tibet tomorrow. Drujal is very excited as we are finally going to his home. He hasn't spent much time in the rest of China so he is like a tourist too at some of the places we go to and he is the first to admit it. We have a very early morning tomorrow as we at heading to the airport at 05:30 to catch our flight to Lhasa. Everything is new for us starting tomorrow which should be a slow day after we land so we can get acclimatized to the altitude. We go from a few hundred meters to 3700m. Like being suddenly dropped off on the top of Mount Robson.

André and Gina
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Mama on

Sounds like too much fun! Safe flight. Snow is getting closer. Athabasca may even see flurries tonight! Enjoy your sun!

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