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October 20th 2006
Published: October 21st 2006
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The train left Taiyuan at 9:00am on a 12 hour journey heading for Xi’an, or so we thought. The tickets said Xi’annan but when we asked if they were the same, we were told they were. We found out otherwise. We were fortunate that we were alone in a soft seat sleeper for most of the trip. With about 3 hours remaining we were joined by 2 passengers. One of them was a 30 y.o. policeman named Dong Ji Long who did not speak English but was eager to communicate. Using the translator and sign language we talked for a while and got him hooked on Suduko. He told us of “something to see in Xi’an about 1 hour away by bus or train”. That something was the city. It appears that Xi’annan is a small area south of the city of Xi’an. It took a second 1 hour train ride to reach the city.
On the ride we passed many small villages and beautiful countryside. As we traveled south, we began to see more crops other than corn, which was predominant near Beijing. There were terraces cut into the mountains for farming and many caves dug into the hillsides.
Xi’an is a completely walled city. The sites to see are: The Big Wild Goose Pagoda, The Drum Tower, The City Wall and just outside of town, The Qin Terra-Cotta Warriors. Since we arrived late the first night, we had to settle for an o.k. hotel and went to sleep starving. The next morning we set out to find a better hotel and a great brunch. Needless to say, we again started our sightseeing in the early afternoon.
We attempted to take the bus to the Wild Goose Pagoda but found out that buses don’t stop that often here and we passed it by 5 blocks. The Wild Goose Pagoda is on a huge square with beautiful waterfalls, fountains and statues. The Wild Goose Pagoda was built in 652 AD, under the patronage of the monk Xuan Zang to house all the Buddhist sutra brought back from India. The name comes from a Buddhist allusion “Bury the wild goose, Build the Pagoda”.
Note from Sam:
One thing that I learned today was that Buddha was actually a man, Siddhata Gotama. He was considered enlightened after six years of studying, he was 36. He lived another 45 years teaching his philosophy to thousands.
Scott and I talked about liking the philosophy of Buddhists, which is based on the love of wisdom. It is about peace and harmony of oneself and nature. To become Buddhist do you have to burn incense? I hate the stuff……
Note from Scott:
Don’t bother climbing the pagoda…it is a waste of time. The real beauty and sites is outside and the surrounding park.

Additional photos below
Photos: 26, Displayed: 23


Door of pagodaDoor of pagoda
Door of pagoda

Notice ancient writings around the door
Waterfall in park Waterfall in park
Waterfall in park

Of course when I went to take the picture they had turned off the water. But I thought the carvings were cool.

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