Published: September 17th 2008September 17th 2008
Last night we traveled from Beijing to Xian by train.
Why train? first of all I will avoid a plane whenever I can- so 13 hours is doable and secondly, I really wanted to see "inside China". Xian is in the center of China so even though we were traveling by night I figured we would have a few hours of sunlight to see the terrain.
I wanted to rough it but rough it BRENDA STYLE which means ordering a luxury cabin. A Chinese luxury train cabin has a bunk bed and a bathroom compared to a regular cabin where you could be sleeping with drunks and bathrooms are communal.
When we heard the boarding call, Jeff and I were sure we would get help with our four overweight suitcases, I mean we are going first class! Very quickly we understood that first class TRAIN isnt first class PLANE. We somehow dragged these suitcases through some long corridor that was infiltrated by a 1000 chinese travellers who were not going to let us pass to get to our platform. A policeman literaly had to stop the people by raising his stick to let us get to the other
side of the tracks.
The electronic sign flashed T43! "Jeff, our first "first class" anything- isnt this fun" I must have been screaming because I was getting looks (did that ever stop me?) but as I stood at the top of about 50 stairs I realized the first class stuff was a bluff. Our suitcases practically threw us towards the train and there we found that the toilet in our cabin was filled and smelled! Jeff I am not brushing my teath for the next 12 hours - you've been warned!
We discussed for about an hour who should be on the top bed. I mean if it collapsed is it better to have 70 kg or 80 kg fall on you? In the end I slept on top and for the rest of the night I tossed and turned till I could see the terrain. I sat up on the bed and watched the land pass before me.
If you go back to pass blogs you will remember the huge skyscrapers and western looking cities we saw in China well time to go into the warp machine a few hundred years back and then you
Our First Class Cabin
before we saw the bathroom
will understand what I saw as our train shot across fields of corn. Interlaced between the corn fields were illigal grave yards, run down houses, a few happy dogs and men and women plowing their land. Some plowed with oxes, others pulled their bodies forward as they held a string and hoe through the dirt but the picture that is engraved in my mind is an old man plowing his field with some kind of contraption on his leg that he dragged it systematically across is property. I was speachless Now I understood the art I saw at 798!
Still in shock we entered the city of Xian, I was standing with Jeff and another couple from Australia surrounded by smells of sewage creaping up from the walls, seeing at the amount of people screaming at us "madam you want a cab? your suitcase?" letting me know-
I was in my element! With a smile on my face- We met our guide and off we went for one of the main reasons for this trip.
I love the tv show THE AMAZING RACE. The Amazing Race, is a reality television game show in which teams of two people
It is so high and steep!
which have some form of a personal relationship, race around the world in competition with other teams. Contestants strive to arrive first at "pit stops" at the end of each leg of the race to win prizes and avoid coming in last. Contestants travel to and within multiple countries in a variety of transportation modes, including planes, taxis, rental cars, trains, buses and boats. From this show I learned alot about China and what I wanted to see.
One of my favorite challanges was given to the girls of the group, they had to go up to Mt Huashan for some challange that is not relevant now. to learn about the mountain i added a site : http://www.planetware.com/xian/mount-huashan-chn-sn-mh.htm
On Mt Huashan there is a custom to buy a golden lock,engraved with the names of couples, and then lock it on the iron chains on the Gold Lock Pass. After they lock the padlock families then pray for their safety and health. What a site to see!!! Thousands of golden locks on the 4 meters of iron chains about 9,999 locks left by visitors.
This is why I came to china! I wanted to put a lock
I am not doing this
Our guide said "you serious?!" I see a tv show and then I think I can do it too?
on the mountain with Jeff. I didnt realize that I was going to have to get into a gondola that took us over 1600 feet but I was determined and with my ipod in my ears and my sunglasses in place and hands over face I went up the mountain by rail.
As we waited in line to enter the gondola an elderly man talked to our guide, asking him where we came from " Israel" he smiled put out his hand to shake Jeff's and said to Jeff " You are a clever people , we have lots in common, you are like the chinese very very smart.!!"
I don't know about that as I climbed into the Gondola to put a gold lock on a chain on a trecherous mountain. But who cares we had the best day ever!!!
Tomorrow we will see the Terracotta army and we are off by plane to Hong Kong!
There are more photos below