Published: May 29th 2012May 29th 2012
I am in X'ian, a city that sounds like dog in French but there are not many around, thanks God!. It means peaceful place
and the letter of the city at the end are represented by a letter that looks like a home with a woman inside. Nice right?
Well the rest is not that poetic. The city is big, crowed, it used to be the old capital of china in the past, and received a lot on internal east immigration from the turbulent political second war times.
It is a place that has a group of filmmakers that won 2 gold bears at Berlin with historical movies. This people stayed here and they continue on doing this type of projects. They have a big set somewhere in the south of city to do re enhancements with old china, worriers, etc.
After an overnight train from Pangyao, in which I had a long conversation with a sweet student couple of science from Shanxi province that wanted to practice their English (believe it or not they felt I was a great teacher and a good chance to exercise their skills…jejej) They study the soil of China, I learnt some things, but our communication was quite basic. Very superficial stuff. I was impressed they know the whole story of Che Guevara, and in Chinese it sounds much more interesting! They have seen the Motorcycle diaries and they have read the book of it. They were not expected to see a blonde person from that country, but they know as well that Argentina received a lot of immigration in between wars. He know Manu Genobili (I even do not know how to write his name) and obviously Messi and Maradona. They knew that we dance tango and they wanted I show them, in the middle of the train…I did my best in order to not disappointed them, I felt bad not being able to represent well my country in that sense! They said they are a country of 56 nations inside, and there is not a unique national dance. I asked them what do you dance in weddings. The young gentleman in his 18 (that than manage to carry my luggage out of the train) sais, we do not have to dance and laugh!
In the main Xian station that feels big and chaotic I re-meet my Belgium and Netherlands station friends, the ones that are traveling from Mongolia and Datong. The Mongolia path is quite popular among the travelers that arrives into China with the Gobi dessert in their souls. They will be traveling for a year! And they have a tiny –tiny backpack. I envied their wisdom. I felt so fancy stupid with my bag, I wanted to throw away everything. I should have heard Eloi on this…You do not need much here. And laundry is pretty cheap 10Y the kilo, I have already sent it ones and came back amazing.
I arrived to the hostel, which is in the middle of the town, in a modern building where I feel quite claustrophobic, is so full of travelers from all over the world. A lot of friendly folks but too many backpacks and needs for a small tiny front desk and reception area to hang out.
Do not ask me how but I managed to take 2 buses and go to the Terracota Warriors museum on my own, a place that is out of the city and takes around 2 hours (the bus 601 and the 306) Doing this way, it cost you only 14 Y and the entrance fee there is 150Y. I wish I had my Maine Media College ID for half price in so many venues here! The museum is actually in the place the Terracota status were found by some peasants trying to dig a dwell. It took several years for reconstructions of the pieces and they are still working on this. With some international donations. The Annenberg Foundation is putting money here as well!
I enjoyed a lot, but is one of those things that you have seen so many times in pictures that when you have in front is not really fulfilling much. I took a minivan back to the city. DO not make my mistake. Come back with the 306. It goes ALL over the most ugly parts of Xian and takes forever. In this ride happened my the most hilarious thing I ever experience in a public bus on duty full of people. It stopped in the middle of the road to fill oil and clean the windows. It was strange, but it was only for me I guess. I am a fish out of the water here. Is not like a jet lack, no matter how I try to overcome this, I am in a cultural shock. I cannot stop laughing sometimes, such as yesterday afternoon when I was walking around the city and I passed outside a hair dresser and a men who was waiting outside that his black tint color in his hair got dry look at me with 2 big sea shells on his ears.
I saw beautiful things as well. Gifts that happens on any trip experience I guess. In front of the local government communist building, which is huge, there was a fountain, when the waters stated to run in the sunset hundred of doves came to take water. But there were not simple doves. There were beautiful white doves. I have never seen free doves like these ones. These doves were the doves that only magicians in the west handle to have to entertain kids with their tricks. And here I was around so many white doves taking water from the fountain.
The best neighborhood I have seen so far here, after my bad experience from the wrong bus, was the Islamic area. It is so nice combination; the concept of Islamic Chinese is a weird thing for me. But not so weird here. There is a big Islamic community especially when you are moving west of the country. Their mosque is beautiful, quite, a place for prayers and teachings. Women are covered, and the area sells Chinese Islamic food, nothing similar of middle eastern food.
It is so hard to find a tour that will go to Ya-nan where I want to be tomorrow turning 40, the same place Mao Zedong born. The Jerusalem of Communism or the Meca as my couple Chinese friends defined it. All tours are for Chinese only. No westerns goes there. Even I can handle to go alone everybody in hostel tries to persuade me not to go (not the Lonely Planet) what does it mean??? How can a place that was the center of this system become to be a place so difficult to get in? It sounds as difficult as is going to Lhasa. Not visa hassles but so much mysterious, and they do not make it easy. I want to see the monuments there and the original center of commands!
During the night I was exhausted, I met another Belgium woman. She is travelling alone, coming from Xining and areas around there, she gave me many tips, and we talk for hours. In my long-long talk, the whole idea of the short was starting to make some sense and it took shape, random things happens in the land of creativity. I am glad I met her. Today we are going together to the Tomb of a famous guy from the past that built (well you know, he actually was not the one that done it with his hands but full of slaves and cheap artist!) a glorious place to leave his remains bones.
And before I leave you I need to make a shameful confession. I ate at Mac Donalds in front of the train station, in the second floor with the view of the walls of X´ian. I had a fish combo menu and after being poison with food, this meal seemed pretty safe believes me. I cannot see Chinese food for a while! (and Yes in Mac Donalds the bathrooms are also litrinies!)