X-ing in Xian

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June 5th 2005
Published: June 13th 2005
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Riding along side by sideRiding along side by sideRiding along side by side

Joe and I ride the 13km wall around the old city of Xian. They were old bikes with one gear and hard seats, it was 90 degrees with humidity of 1000% and the road is small bricks and bumpy.
while Xian is most famous for the discovery of the Terra Cotta warriors, the town has much more to offer visitors. From the airport, our first stop was at the city wall, a 13 km square struture that wraps around the old city. The wall is very high and wide and thus a perfect place to ride an old one-gear bicycle in blazing 90 degree, 100% humidity weather. Undaunted, Joe and I head out. We quickly realize the stone roads and our old bikes created a bumpy ride but we laugh and press on. the first bump in our trip takes place as joe's chain breaks. While I ride ahead to get assistance, Joe gets help from anothe bike rental place and a catastrophe is avoided.

After lunch a quick shower, we visited the Xian Museum to gain a bit of history on the town. We head back the hotel to be greeted by what appeared to be a never ending parade of tall, beautiful women. They were wearing numbered buttons so I assume it was a beauty pagent of some sort. Neither they nor their guides spoke english so I never did find out the story. Upon a recommendation
Blvd of Broken ChainsBlvd of Broken ChainsBlvd of Broken Chains

Of course, 2/5 the way around the wall, joe's chain breaks. But he gets help quickly and thus the catastrophe avoided.
from Lonely Planet (my trusty tour book), we grab dinner downtown and then roam the wild streets of Xian. If people in this country do not make much money, you would never know it as everyone is on a cell phone, wearing nice clothing and even drinking lots of alcohol at the bar/clubs.

Next day we headed to the Terra Cotta warrior exhibit. The sheer number and size of the find is very impressive. For a brief moment thought, I imagined the teams from Amazing Race 7 running into the exhibit look for thier next clue.

In the early evening, before we headed to dinner, I took a stroll near the Big Wild Goose Pagoda. There I found this wonderous fountain park featuring hundreds of fountains moving in unison to music (similar to that of the Bellagio in Vegas). But here it was laid out in such a way and on many levels that people could run through the streaming water. After the 15 minutes performance, I was cornered by 3 college age girls and bombarded with questions and photos. It is simultaneously fun and strange to be a celebrity for simply being a white westerner.

Armed and DangerousArmed and DangerousArmed and Dangerous

I pose with two Chinese Army soilders outside the Big Wild Goose Pagoda in Xian
to Shanghai tommorw.


Additional photos below
Photos: 13, Displayed: 13


Getting Spiritual at the GooseGetting Spiritual at the Goose
Getting Spiritual at the Goose

I take a moment to reflect in the garden of the Big Wild Goose Pagoda
Terra Cotta WarriorsTerra Cotta Warriors
Terra Cotta Warriors

The main pit (number 1) is filled with the life-like statues of the warriors that were placed to protect the emporer and join him in the next world. most of the warriors were broken and put back together. the exhibit hall is the size of two US football fields.
Terra Cotta WarriorsTerra Cotta Warriors
Terra Cotta Warriors

the ones on the highground are in the process of being rebuilt and will join their brethren once completed.
Hot water bathHot water bath
Hot water bath

Here, for 1 RMB (chinese money equiv to 15 cents US), you can feel the hot water from the springs. the lady next to me decides to take a bath in it.
Me and performerMe and performer
Me and performer

There was a VIP in the area so they were about to perform (you can see red dressed people in the background) for their arrival.
Bronze Statues line the wayBronze Statues line the way
Bronze Statues line the way

four different bronze statues line the path between the Pagoda and the fountain park.
Fountain  ParkFountain  Park
Fountain Park

This multi-level fountain park easily rivals the Bellagio in Vegas. As you can see, people run through the fountain sprays for photos. Speakers pump out music to accompany the fountains. At this moment, the Can Can was playing.

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