Tuesday, May 12, 2009


We arrived in Xian and Rainy our guide was there to greet us with a car and driver. She took us to our hotel in downtown Xian within the city walls. We were then left on our own for the evening. We wandered about and then came back to the hotel for dinner. That was not the best food we had so far.
The next morning Rainy picked us aup and we started the day by going to the Xian city wall tower with many towers. We rented 2 seater bikes and cycled along for a while to where we could see the moat with beautiful landscaped areas along it. People were flying kites and men were playing games.
We had decided that we did not want to do the shopping excursions included today to the ceramics and furniture factory. But it so happened that our next stop was the shopping at the factory where they make the official terra cotta souvenirs. They also make beautiful lacquered furniture, carpets, ceramics , silk embroidery and other souvenirs. We bought an archer and a general. We would haveliked an emperor, however you could only get him if you bought a set of 5 then they would throw in an emperor.
After the city wall we drove to lunch about 30 minutes away. Next to the restaurant was the sphinx and a pyramid! It wa an attraction for the 8 wonders of the world.
Lunch was very good. The guide helped you order off the menu. We selected a beef with noodles, chicken and broccoli and mushrooms. Maggie ordered a salad and honey dates. While waiting spicy cold noodles and a bean dish were served.
The Terra Cotta Warriors were next on the agenda. We took a golf cart to the 4 buildings housing the excavated soldiers. The first building representing Pit 1 looks like a hockey arena. The first view of the soldiers is incredible. There are 3 rows of soldiers standing proudly in a row. There no archers in this pit.
We then visited the other 2 buildings containing other excavated items and models of archers and generals which have been pieced together.
We walked around the Islam area of Xian wwhich was located just behind the hotel. We went to a traditional house where we also saw a shadow play show.
We then had time to wander around by ourselves. We saw many interesting foods such as dumplings, dried fruites and vegetables includng kiwi and tomatoes.
We saw dumpling covers being made and walnuts being ground to make powder. There were street vendors for almost anything you could think of. There were huge soup caludrons getting ready for the lunch crowd. We wentdown a side street no bigger than a lane but with 2 way traffic,bikes, moterbikes and pedestrians.There was food within arm’s reach of any drivver making it a true drive-thru.
There were stands with various types of filling which you could select from and then have it fried up in a pancake before you. There were salmon cakes as well.
Birds in cages were singing in cages hanging from branches of trees. Coal was being delivered to the restaurants by a man on a 3 wheel bicycle. Muslim ladieswith theirheads covered were selling their wares, shoes, fans, shawls, tiger balm, chopsticks, luggage.
A woman went by with her bicycle and a hugh flowering plant in the basket.
Then it was time to head back to the hotel to pick up our luggage for our flight to Chonging where we would be boarding the Yangtze cruise.

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