Tuesday, March 18, 2008


We arrived in Xian around Lunch time. I thought we were going to a smaller city (8 million or so) that the air would be clearer. Although I have to say the smog didnt bother me in Beijing it is noticeable. When we drove from the airport to the downtown area, we passed this really huge coal factory with 4 large smoke stack things. Again my expectation was way off. Air quality is very very bad here, when you blow your nose black comes out. The entire city seemed old, run down and dirty when we first arrived. The tour buss drove us to a bell tower from the ancient times, it is in the center of the down town area next to a mall and lost of shopping from Very i end to tiny shops. Another example modern right next to the ancient ones. the bell tower was for keeping time, they rand it in the morning - a little bit further was a drum tower that they rang at dusk - but we only walked past that we didn't go  in.  After word was the highlight of our meals and entertainment. They took us (along with 20 million other tour busses) to a wonderful dumpling dinner and a traditional chinese folk type show.  The food was Excellent thay had all kinds of different dumplings that they molded into shapes of the thing it was for example - the Dunk dumpling looked like a duck - i took a pic of that one. others were port , cabbage, walnut(my fav) and many more. All of us loved the food. The Show was also Great - albeit a little long. some songs, some intruments, some dances, it was all entertaining, beautiful, graceful, and occasionally funny. 

The next morning we got up and headed out to see the Wild Goose Pagoda. It is a Buddhist Temple and behind it is a the Pagoda, that in ancient time was used to store the writings of the scholars. Only few people were allowed to climb the tower in ancient time, only the students that Passed the highest level examinations we allowed to do it.  This place was more like I imagined the ancient places would be like - it felt like a sanctuary in the middle of the city - the grounds were lovely, and  peaceful and no city noise come in around it. This was also the first day in China we didn't feel like we were running running the entire day. We all enjoyed the visit. After we went to a factory that reproduces the Taricotta Soldiers - using the same clay they did in ancient time - thy also made furniture and showed us the process of making Lacqor (sp?) furniture. So many beautiful pieces I wanted them all. Anyway - After the factory - we stopped for lunch and then we were finally off to visit the sight where they discovered the Soliders. They Discovered them my accident there were 3 farmers digging a well in the early 1970's and they came upon one when they were digging it. The Farmer is as old as dirt now and he was there signing books. he was funny we all got a good laugh. He doesn't like his picture taken, he has a sigh that says NO PHOTOS - one of the girls held up her camera and was going to take one. He started yelling at her in chinese and slamming the sign on down on the table to make a point. It was great. He was funny.  

We talked around the pits where they discovered the soldiers, took lots of pictures, but the lighting was dim and the camera didn't get very many good shots of it. I plan to get some from one of the other people on the trip. The soldiers were built for the First Emperor of the Quin (chin) Dynasty - They were made to be his army in his afterlife there are 4 different kinds of soldiers, every one is unique and has a different ace. It was very interesting - there were also horses down with the soldiers. Most of the them were broken, buthave ben restored. There are still several thousand that still need o be rstored - I will write more later about it.

After we came back we finally had some free time to get out and experience China.
Dustin and I walked around Xian shopped a little and Just enjoyed  the streets of Xian - He said it reminded him of New York It was very busy and we had a fantastic time trying to communicate and barged for our purchases. 
When we got back we found out lots of other people, well I think all of them, did similar things.

Today we leave for Guilan - its a small town and I may not have internet until I get to Shanghai - Dont know yet.