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Cascoly Travel -- China: Xian
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Cascoly Travel
China: Xian

DAY 07 BEIJING – XIAN 10/28 Sunday

Depart via flight WH2110 at 1330, arrive at 1500 and transfer to the 4-star Lee Garden Hotel. Dinner followed a show of the Tang Dynasty (B/L/D)

 

Flight changed to 9:30 am (CA1209). Up at 6, for arrival airport just after 8. Clearing blue skies after last night’s rains. Smoothly thru security and checkin, arrive in Xian about noon. Met local guide, Tu Shao (Kevin).

 

Toured the Wild Goose Pagoda, then the Tang Dynasty Art Museum. Good explanation of Tang paintings and other art works. Several statues show influence of Roman culture on clothing and art. Then on to the Shaanxi museum. Only had a short time here, not nearly enough to absorb all that it holds. This is a new museum and has excellent displays with English captions included. Organized by dynasty, only had time for a brief look at each section.  Interesting were the Han dynasty terra cotta warriors and Wei figures from 550 AD both much reduced from the full sized Qin figures. Many buddhas from the thin stylized Han to the more rounded Tang, all showing the Chinese influence on Indian art. Beautiful Tang horses and camels. Other tri-coulored statues show heavenly gods and protectors. Ox head agate cup.


Good dinner at another hotel, then drive to our hotel, arriving about 7:30 – Jianguo Hotel. Only 4 star,  but still nice, quiet rooms. Hotel Guest Service Directory: “All the furniture and daily necessities in the room are perfect. If you have any better ideas, please contact Housekeeping”. Not sure what they’re expecting for client behavior, but the following are some of the room charges:

Item

Qty

Price

Item

Qty

Price

Item

Qty

Price

Bath towel

2

100 Y

Shower

Curtain

1

200 Y

Peephole

1

50 Y

 

Window(small)

1

1000 Y

Pillow

2

100Y

Writing Table

1

1000 Y

Window (big)

1

1500 Y

Ashtray

2

10 Y

Hanger (big)

2

30 Y

Mattress(small)

2

800Y

Fridge

1

4000 Y

Hanger (small)

4

15

Toilet tank

1

1700 Y

Door

1

2000 Y

Bathroom Boor

1

1000 Y

And  dozens more

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

DAY 08   XIAN 10/29 Monday

A full day tour of the Terra Cotta Warriors Museum and Theatre. You will also visit the famous Banpo Neolithic Commune Museum. (B/L/D) 

Fong Chou / Andy is our guide today. First stop, the Banpo Neolithic site. Much expanded from our 1985 visit, with good description by Andy, and well captioned displays. Square and round houses, defensive moat, children’s burial pots. 

Short stop at the official terra cotta warrior factory where we were amply warned about buying statues from anyone else. Of course the factory also had a giant rug and jade section.  Then on to the real thing. Major changes since 1985. The main area, Pit 1 is much more extensive, where before we could only walk along the front, now it extends much farther back and there are more displays of excavations in progress. And, no one seemed to care about pictures being taken. Another good explanation from the guide. On to Pits 2 & 3 which weren’t opened before. These show a sacrificial burial area, and ‘special forces’ – chariots, archers and cavalry. Much of these areas are undisturbed. The original matting and wood roof system has been uncovered but not much has been uncovered under it.  

Gout acting up again, getting really bad towards end of the day. (Started taking colchicine, codeine and ibuprofen. May be due to a fall I took on the escalator a few days ago)  Back to hotel around 5:30, but by 7 still decided to skip dinner & Tang dances. Instead ate at Rong Yuan Sichuan restaurant in hotel. As I walked thru the entry arch, the hostess told me “This is a Chinese restaurant”, as if I were lost.  Excellent “beef with spicy sauce” – incredibly tender strips of beef with black fungus, zucchini and onion in a 2 star hot sauce. (one pepper is rated as “litter hot”). Also with Chengu ravioli (spicy pot stickers), and “Sawteed glutinous rice fillet” – a huge mound of brown paste with nuts. Delicious, but more than enough for 2 or 3. With 2 Tsingtao’s, total was 120 Yuan.  

DAY 09    XIAN 

This morning, you will visit the Ancient Wall and the Wild Goose Pagoda. Transfer to the airport and Fly WH205 at 1340, arrive at 1525 and transfer to the 4-star Guishan Hotel. (B/L/D) 

The rugs in the hotel elevators change every day to name the day. Foot better today – still stiff and limping, but able to walk better. Heavy smog again, can see the sun but it doesn’t do much good.   6 of us took taxis to the Great Mosque. I asked at the front desk for someone to write the name down. First they told me there was a bank around the corner, but I kept saying “Great Mosque” and finally got it written down, took it to the doorman and got some taxis. They took us into town and dropped us off at the Bank of China. Couldn’t convince them to do anything more, so we walked on another ½ mile or so to the Drum Tower. Later found out that my slip of paper said “Bank of China”. (I told Kana it probably said “Take these yankees to the bank of china” and she cracked up). Thru a tunnel under the Tower, and we entered another quarter entirely. Smaller streets, older architecture, lots of art supply stores and other small businesses. A sign pointed us to the Mosque, but we had to run a gauntlet of souvenir stands all along its meandering way. Finally reached the Mosque, to find it much as I remembered it – a lovely change the bustle and smog outside. Beautiful gardens, with bonsai stones (odd shaped rocks displayed in pots). Several courtyards eventually lead to the Prayer Hall with its Chinese-Arabic calligraphy. Couldn’t go in though. Time was running short, so despite its attractions and bargains, only bought a coupla items, then walked down the art street a short ways before grabbing a cab to return to the hotel just in time to board the bus for the airport.

Street scene
Street scene
Chinese Halloween bat
Chinese Halloween bat

Traffic, bicyclists
Traffic, bicyclists
Vendors
Vendors
Pork skewers, detail
Pork skewers, detail
Sidewalk restaurant, girl with pots
Sidewalk restaurant, girl with pots
Food bike, vendor
Food bike, vendor
Advertising poster
Advertising poster


Shaanxi Museum
Terra Cotta Warriors Museum
Great Mosque
Big Goose Pagoda
Painting & Sculpture

Signs

Left hotel, stopped for lunch, and a visit to the city walls, then out to the airport where our flight was delayed almost an hour. On board talked with Kana about a variety of subjects, centering on religion (She asked if we were Christian, and I told her we’re atheists and she said she was too.)  Discussed fundamentalism, first amendment guarantees in US, creationism. She read mostly mythology and the  Bible in her English training. Very surprising, but she said history was hard to find, and besides all the names looked the same.  She was starting to read Dante now. Talked about the Cultural Revolution – her grandparents were affected pretty hard by it, losing jobs, and being beaten, but still supported the party.  She said her generation has little respect or admiration for Mao or Deng Shao Ping; that Chou enLai was the one they most admired. I asked “What about Jiang Zimen” and she just replied, “He sucks!”. She had also been asking about American Indians earlier, asking if any of them still hunted buffalo or wore costumes.

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