Tuesday, November 5 - Transit to Xi'An

We have breakfast with Anthony, a fellow from Australia, who was on the boat cruise.Then its transport by van to Yichang to pick up the bus to Wuhan airport, a 4 hour bus ride.

With Anthony at YiChang awaiting the bus

Anthony is also riding the same bus and it is not crowded so we can stretch out. This time, our bus hostess serves us cookies and water. The comedy movie played during the bus ride is difficult to understand as it deals with Chinese deities and has no subtitles. At Wuhan, we catch a little jet called "Hainan Airlines" to Xi'An.

Xi'An means "Western Peace" and used to be a capital city. We check into the Melody Hotel at Xi'An at 8pm and walk over the 8 lanes of traffic to get to the Muslim quarter. I find a hole-in-the-wall Muslim restaurant and we have lamb dumplings and soup. There are lots of lights in the cityscape. Earl thinks it quite surreal. It reminds him of the movie "Blade Runner".

Roll your mouse over the picture to see the same scene in the morning

Wednesday, November 6 - Xi'An

Our guide takes us to the Banpo Neolithic Village. It is an archaeological site with graves, outlines of the different buildings and homes of the prehistoric peoples. Children were buried in pottery. There is a community kiln where pottery was thrown.

Folk Art Store


We then go to the Huaqing Hot Springs Park.

There are musical and historical performances and lots of Chinese people on holiday.

Everyone is getting their photo
taken by this stone.

A play with audience participation

Chie-Mie and Marisa try out the hot spring.

The tour continues with a stop at the terracotta pottery shop.
We see plenty of "terra cotta warriors" even before we get to the real site.

The Terra Cotta Army complex is immense. Everything is written in English and Mandarin.

We watch the movie about the finding and restoration of the warriors.

We walk through the stadium buildings that are pit 1, 2 and 3,

along with the museum that hosts many of the artifacts.

Only a fraction of the pits have been excavated. Most of the army had been smashed after the peasant uprising in 221 BC. There is a line of people waiting for an autograph from the farmer who dug the well and found the warriors. On the way out, we are attacked by vendors and the prices are so reasonable that we buy several boxes of little terra cotta warriors.

We finish the tour for the day and want to see the Great Mosque that's nearby our hotel.
There is a large bazaar and by the time we get to the mosque it is dark.

Arabic room
We did see Muslims running for evening prayers and study.
We have lamb and mutton soup with dumplings for dinner.

Thursday, November 7th - Xi'An.

We arrange to have our guide is pick us up around 11:00 am. This gives us time to walk over to the nearby Bell Tower which along with the Drum Tower was used to keep time for the city. Earl doesn't feel like going, even though I tell him there are musical performances every half hour. Chie-Mie, Seth & I go and ring the bell.

The little girl is sitting on the bell ringer

It's ring once for happiness, twice for wealth and three times for good fortune.
There is a music show of Chinese instruments and bells.

Chie-Mie wants to watch another performance but Seth is worried that we won't have enough time to get back to the hotel.

View from Bell Tower looking towards city wall tower.

Our Provincial Museum tour is a quick walk through the various dynasties and art work.

When did they get Earl to model for this?

Tang Horse

My, what big humps you have!

We then visit the City Wall.

Xi'An's city wall is one of the few still standing in China from the Ming Dynasty and it surrounds the old city.

There are bicycles that one could rent and ride along the perimeter of the city wall.
Too bad we don't have time for that. It looks like a fun, safe thing to do.

On top of the city wall that surrounds Xi'An . It is very wide.

We visit the Big Wild Goose Pagoda which houses Indian Buddhist manuscripts.

View of Tower from Garden


We have a free half hour and Chie-Mie climbs the Pagoda while the rest of us opt to walk around it.

Climb, Chie-Mie, Climb.

Next to the Pagoda is the Tang Art Museum. The Art Museum guide explains the difference between Tang and Ming architecture - Tang is simpler and has dragon tail roof ornaments. She tells us amusing stories of how Tang women had fashionable double chins and how Empress Wu made women dressing like men popular. There is a demonstration of calligraphy and lots of scrolls and artwork for sale. Nothing is priced.

4pm - Time to catch the 5:40 pm soft sleeper train to Beijing. We have dinner on the train, which is simple: You order by the type of meat you want, fish, beef, chicken or tofu. Pay the cashier and he gives you a color coded ticket to give to the waiter. This dinner is the most expensive so far. $3 per person. Chie-Mie and I take the top berths in the cabin and complain because Earl & Seth turn up the heat and roast us.

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