Thursday, 13 August 2015

Asian Adventure - Xian

The breakfast still hadn't improved on the second day, but at least I was able to use the translator on my phone to ask for soy sauce. After breakfast we packed our bags and waited for our guide and driver for 9:30. 

We were taken to the East gate of the ancient Xian city wall where we got a couple of bicycles and rode around the top of the wall to the South gate, (around 9km). 

Some sections of the paving was very badly eroded, so in parts it was quite rough. From up on the wall you could see a lot of reconstruction, with the old being replaced by the new. There were also a lot of houses with solar hot water systems on the roof. 

Click to play video (42sec)

We have learned that when you buy an apartment in China, you only get the lease for 70 years as the government still owns the land, which might explain why there is such a popularity of Chinese purchasing housing in Australia. One gate had a draw-bridge and there is a moat around the whole lot. There seemed to be a big tour group from South Africa, and a couple of them were idiots, riding up behind locals walking and scaring them with a loud noise on both sides. 

It was pretty hot, but luckily not as hot as the day before, and after we went back to the Hotel to have a shower. Lunch was Hotpot, at the Hotel, which was really delicious. 

We checked out and were then supposed to go to the local Museum. When we arrived it was really really crowded (due to Summer holidays). The free line was far too long, so we were thinking of paying, but even the paying line was pretty long. It turned out that there were so many people inside that they were limiting how many were to go in, and the next lot wouldn't get in for 20 minutes. 

After some discussion, we decided to skip the museum and go directly to the Wild Goose Pagoda. 

Click to play video (1min 36sec)

This Pagoda was designed and commissioned by an early monk, who was confused by the teachings being different and went to India to learn more about Buddhism. In fact this is the 'story' which is shown on the TV series “Monkey Magic.”It started getting extremely hot, and we decided to sit for a while in the cool and chat. We also wandered a little in the gardens, but a thunder storm seemed imminent and as soon as it started to rain we got the driver to pick us up and take us to the train station (even though it meant a 4 hour or so wait). 

Initially, the waiting room at the train station wasn't all that crowded, but as a couple of trains were called at 7pm it became frantic. Our train ended up being an hour and a half late, but once we got on, we settled in nicely. There was a lady with a young girl in the bed above me and another lady in the bed above Darryl. We had a snack and basically went to sleep. Actually, we had a really good sleep.

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