Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Beijing to Xian 2009

May 2009 - Xian China

I have started documenting our China trip.

Toronto to Beijing

04. Wed 06-May-09
Beijing to Xian, Air China CA1235 (Beijing Capital Airport - Xian Xianyang Airport) Dep 4:30PM - Arr 6:20PM (Economy class) Meihua-Goldentang International Hotel **** (Deluxe Room)
Hotel to airport Transfer (Beijing), Airport to Hotel Transfer (Xian)B,L

We started day in Beijing and then caught a flight at 4:30 PM to Xian, 2 hours and 20 minutes.

Waiting in Beijing airport.

As always on this trip the hand offs from guide to guide were impeccable, nothing went wrong.

Landing in Xian. 

 In Xian we had Rainy waiting for us. She took us to our hotel within the old city walls.

Xian is one of the oldest cities in China, the city was known as Chang'an before the Ming dynasty.  Xi'an is the starting point of the Silk Road and home to the Terracotta Army of Emperor Qin Shi Huang.

Meihua-Goldentang International Hotel **** (Deluxe Room).
Every hotel that was included was excellent. Breakfast was always included.

The view of the Bell Tower from our window.

We opted for room service and just relaxed after a long day of sightseeing and a flight.

05. Thu 07-May-09
Xian Meihua-Goldentang International Hotel **** (Deluxe Room)
Terracotta Warriors, A WA Restaurant(Lunch), Big Wild Goose Pagoda, Xi'an art ceramic/ furniture factory B,L


Rainy picked us up and we headed out to the Terracotta Warriors.

The Terracotta Army (Terracotta Warriors and Horses) are the most significant archeological excavations of the 20th century. Shaanxi Province. It is a sight not to be missed by any visitor to China.

We are greeted by this huge statue when we arrive at the parking lot. From there it is a 10 minute walk to the main entrance to the complex.

This is the older building containing Pit 1.

Rainy giving us a history lesson.

The figures, dating from approximately the late third century BCE, were discovered in 1974 by local farmers in Lintong District. 

I was fascinated by the way every soldier had to be meticulously and uniquely crafted. It was also interesting that even though the Chinese never interacted with the Egyptians, both civilizations had similar ideas of the afterlife and the Emperor being buried with treasures, entertainers, officials and an entire army.

The figures vary in height according to their roles, with the tallest being the generals. The figures include warriors, chariots and horses. Estimates from 2007 were that the three pits containing the Terracotta Army held more than 8,000 soldiers, 130 chariots with 520 horses and 150 cavalry horses, the majority of which remained buried in the pits nearby Qin Shi Huang's mausoleum Other terracotta non-military figures were found in other pits, including officials, acrobats, strongmen and musicians.

 Fun facts that’ll blow you away:
  • Not a single soldier was found intact in this pit.
  • At the end of the Qin Dynasty, warlord Xiang Yu found out about the tomb and raided the pits for their weapons and set the area ablaze.  Since the pits were protected by wooden beams across the columns, those burned to cinders and collapsed on the soldiers below.
  • Every year they can only reassemble 20-30 soldiers.  With a total of 6,000 warriors in this pit, it’ll take 200 years to finish it all.
  • There’s paint on every single one of these soldiers to start with but because of oxidation they disappear in minutes so most of them have been left in the ground to preserve the colors.  That being said, Johnson & Johnson has developed some sort of lotion that’ll help preserve the paint so they’re slowly starting to incorporate that technology in.
  • Every soldier’s face is different.
  • The horses of this dynasty were a lot smaller because these ones came from Mongolia.  Subsequent dynasties brought on much larger stallions from outside the kingdom.
  • To keep the tomb a secret, all the craftsmen that sculpted these soldiers were killed thus none of the art was passed on to later generations.
  • For the longest time, farmers knew there was something in this area but were always spooked off because of superstitions.

Soldiers upon soldiers in columns. Pay close attention to how each of the soldier’s faces are crafted differently, the clothes their wearing (and lack of armor), how their hair is tied and how they’re holding their weapons, now stolen. 

We headed over to the museum located in another building.

There is one large building completely dedicated to the prized bronze chariots discovered in an encased wooden box in 1980. It took two and a half years to restore them and eventually they were put on display here. There are two of them and this one below was meant to be a chariot for the Emperor’s family.

Definitely time for lunch.

We laughed when we saw this outside the restaurant as we all had been to Egypt a couple of years before and saw the real thing.

A Wa Restaurant

Fully sated we head back into Xian and make a stop at a ceramic/furniture factory. My own terracotta warriors!

Big Wild Goose Pagoda is a Buddhist pagoda located in southern Xi'an. It was built in 652 during the Tang dynasty and originally had five stories. The structure was rebuilt in 704 during the reign of Empress Wu Zetian, and its exterior brick facade was renovated during the Ming dynasty. One of the pagoda's many functions was to hold sutras and figurines of the Buddha that were brought to China from India by the Buddhist translator and traveler Xuanzang.

Incense burners.

Prayer requests.

We had to rush back to change for  the optional excursion that Rainy had suggested, to the Xian Opera House for a dumpling dinner and show. This was an excellent idea. The driver waited and took us back to our hotel.

The dumpling banquet in the Shaanxi Grand Opera House Theater Restaurant was truly an adventure. 

The food was amazing. I have posted some of these before.

Lotus root with lemon.

One after another, we were served bamboo basket after bamboo basket of various steamed dumplings. 
I LOVE dumplings!

The kitchen staff have taken such great care to fashion these dumplings in such shapes that will give you a clue to what each dumpling is filled with by shaping the dumpling to resemble the filling. 

The pork siomai look like piglets, complete with ears and tails. 
And the duck dumplings! There was no mistaking these with their thin long graceful necks.

Each steamer came with 3 types of dumpling and 3 pieces of each. 
Duck – shaped like a duck
Pork – shaped like a pig
Shark’s fin
Chicken – piece of corn at top to resemble an egg
Pork and leek
Fried dumplings
Large plate of regular pork
Chicken Soup with baby dumplings

Even though we couldn't understand anything the show was stunning.

06. Fri 08-May-09 
Xian City Wall with bicycle, Gao's Courtyard(includes Shadow Play),Guoli Renhe Chuancai Restaurant (Exhibition Center Branch)(Lunch), 

Hotel to airport Transfer (Xian)

Xian to Chongqing to Yangtze, Sichuan Air 3U8806 Dep 3:25PM - Arr 4:40PM (Economy class) Yangtze Paradise

Cruise pier Transfer (Chongqing), Board the ship from 5:00pm to 8:00pm and departs Chongqing at 10:00pm.(Dinner is at local restaurant).B,L,D

Today is another busy day of sightseeing before we board a flight to take us to Chongqing where we will board the ship for a three day Yangtze cruise.

This ancient capital boasts of a well-preserved 12-kilometer long defensive wall which divided the city into inner city and outer city. The city walls we see today were alleged to have been constructed using kiwi and glutinous rice, then reconstructed to its present state during the Ming Dynasty in 1370.

And this is how we toured the walls!

Fit for an empress!

Strolling around the city before lunch.

Yet another great lunch! Guoli Renhe Chuancai Restaurant (Exhibition Center Branch).

The Muslim District was our next stop.

We visited a typical courtyard house and were treated to a shadow dance.

Then Rainy gave us time to ourselves to explore before lunch. What a food lovers' delight this was.

Time to head to the airport for our flight.


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