Published: August 7th 2012July 28th 2012
Today was a long day of sightseeing in the searing heat of Xi'an!
The first stop was the Wild Goose Pagoda which is a massive tower built in a monastary in the middle of Xi'an, not quite the remote locations you expect them to be! There we learnt about Buddhism and the history behind the tower, named after a similar one in India. There were several monks and I noticed that one had 9 marks on his shaved head, Michael (the tour guide) said that this meant he was devote and would never leave the order! Quite a commitment! There we learnt about the different animals representing the years of your birth, I am a horse!
Next we visited the Shaanxi Province museum and saw many interesting artifacts discovered in the region. We also had a look at the shop and had another go at haggling, which ended in Matt being chased around because he wouldnt buy a set of chop sticks!
After lunch we went to the stone tablet museum which has some of the original master copies of stories and poems that were used to take rubbings from so everyone could know the stories! Myself, Karwei,
Beth, Alastair and Cindy took some arty photos popping out between pillars etc...they will be uploaded soon.
We then walked around caligrophy street where there was lots of market stalls selling various souvenirs, mostly tat! I enjoyed doing some haggling with Hongbo to help Georgina and Jess get some good deals but avoided purchasing anything until the end when I bought a small scroll that I got down from 50rmb to 20rmb, a "friend" price! Caleb bought far too much tat and I have no idea how he will get it all home!
For dinner we went to a buffet restaurant where they had some western food. In a moment of laziness I used a knife and fork! However after not dropping any food on myself all trip whilst using chop sticks I immediately spilt some food down my shorts...so I switched back to my trusty new friends. Over dinner I learnt that Hongbo is studying engineering so agreed to have some beers back in Durham!
We planned to go out that night so had some beers whilst watching the Olympics. We then headed out and, after much hassle trying to explain where we wanted to
go, we got tuk tuks which was crazy and very scary as its essentially a moped with a trailer on it! We had some drinks in a bar and met Joe a Englishman who has been travelling around Asia since May and had grown a massive ginger beard! I hope mine will be similar by the end of the summer!!
When we arrived at the bar I joked that I needed some drugs after the tuk tuk ride. However the bar staff took it a bit seriously and introduced me to a black guy sat nearby who promptly asked me "what I wanted". I was a bit startled and we swiftly moved on! We went to a bar where Cindy (one of the administrators for the summer school), Hongbo, Ing and the tour adgency guy, who will now be known as L, were drinking. I got involved in a game of Liar Dice with L an Cindy but, after winning two practice rounds, was beaten very quickly, I swear they were cheating! When they headed off I taught the game to the others and we played a few rounds before heading back to the hotel and bed!
There are more photos below