Day 7: Xi’an to Shanghai

Last few hours in Xi’an this morning.

We set off for Xi’ans city wall.

Basically, its a big wall that encircles the inner, older city from the outer, newer city which is home to all the high rise buildings and more modern areas.

 

A number of us gathered for an early morning Tai Chi lesson right on top of the wall. We looked out over the city while attempting to follow the movements of the Tai Chi mentors who were made up of three older ladies and one old man who liked to shout out instructions in Chinese despite the fact that none of us understood a word of it. They jumped straight into it and performed a whole routine while we tried to follow along. It was pretty much a calamity with us looking like a bunch of new born foals trying to learn how to walk for the first time.

The masters slowed it down for us, going through it step by step until we had some what of an idea of what was potting. At one point, there is a part where you have to stretch your one leg up into the air and hold it for a while. The old ladies were absolutely boss at it. I could hardly keep my leg up for 10 seconds. I was most definitely was close to pulling a muscle. Awks.

Afterwards we were free to roam around the top of the wall.

 

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There wasn’t much to do other than take in the scenery so most of us were chin chilling on the stairs, attempting to get some R & R before the flight to Xi’an. Continue reading

Day 5: Xi’an. Terra Cotta time

Had a super cultural day on day five.

Kicked it off with a 45 minute drive to the Terra Cotta Army Museum of Antiquity and Artifacts of the Qin Dynasty. 45 minutes during which our local tour guide spoke the entiiire time. She managed to relay the whole history if the Qin dynasty and the story of the army and the farmer who discovered them, without even breaking a sweat. I don’t think I even know enough words to speak for 45 minutes straight. Too much Xi’an tourguide swag to handle.

We arrived relatively early (8.45am) in order to beat the crowds. On a normal day the museum has up to 20 000 visitors. On holidays (which today was; the Chinese Dragon Boat Festival) it can have up to 90 000.

It’s easy to tell why.

The museum is split up into 3 different buildings. The first building houses the 7000+ army.

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It’s a bit overwhelming walking into the huge space and being faced by thousands of clay soldiers. Each and every one is unique and has different facial features/ clothing/ weapons (some were even rocking a side bun like I was).

The cavalry was lined up at the entrance and towards the back of the room was the “soldier hospital” where some of the statues were being restored

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^selfie with soldier dudes in the process of restoration

The other two buildings were excavation sites and had more versions of the soldiers. In the third, you could get up close looks at the figures as well as see what they looked like when they still had their coloured paint.

All in a it was quite the jazzy cultural experience. Even got to see the farmer who discovered the first soldier. He comes and chills in the museum shop to sign books and take photos with visitors to the museum (only allowed if you buy a book…but I snuck one)

After the soldiers we visited an art gallery where we were given a guided tour and a lesson in Chinese calligraphy. My matric art skills chose not to cooperate and needless to say it was a dog show

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#itried

It’s the halfway point of the trip now and it’s all flying by so fast:( every day is so exciting and full of new experiences and activities. All very exhausting. So I celebrated the halfway point by face planting my bed. Best. ever.

Stare dolce

Day 4: Beijing to Xi’an

Transition day.

This morning brought an end to the Beijing portion of the trip.

We had another Chinese lunch (with a lazy Susan. Supliiiise) which was nice although I feel like I’m just getting a bit tired of Chinese food. Never thought I’d say that :O

After lunch we visited the Chinese Ministry of MagicΒ Foreign Affairs.

The speaker explained China’s journey from initial independence to its growth as a super power today. I didn’t agree with everything that was said, especially about Chinese business not being an economic threat to local communities that Chinese nationals emigrate to, but he was open to answering any questions and adorably friendly. It was all very informative and interesting for me but not for a lot of travel blog readers so I won’t go into detail.

That visit drew our time in Beijing to a close.

Then it was on to Xi’an (say it like shee-ann).

The Beijing airport is redonkulously strict. Every single person got beeped going through security and had to be patted down. Even the little kiddies. But hey, can’t complain about extra safety.

And then there was the flight.

I thought landing in Beijing was bad but as the great Robbie Ray would say; heeeeew doggies! Never in my life have I experienced such horrific turbulence. My hands were sore from gripping the armrests so tightly. My iPod decided to die just as the worst of it started so I had no way to distract myself and all I could do was stare out of the window and watch the horizon jiggling about while the plane bumped it’s way through the Chinese sky. A kid sitting behind me put it succinctly when he said: “this shit is not okay”

*~~***>spoiler alert (again)***~~>*
we made it.

Xi’an seems cool. Feels a bit less claustrophobic than Beijing but a heck of a lot more smoggy. I’m most definitely going to have to flush my sinuses out after this. sorrynotsorry for the overshare.

Scoured the streets near the hotel trying to find a Maccie D’s. We eventually did and they had run out of chicken burger patties. Like what did I even leave my room for then. Get your shiz together Xi’an McDonalds.

On a side note: I’m becoming more and more concerned about my accent. Apparently the South African accent sounds Australian/newzealandish/British/Alien. There are soooo many Americans on this trip and only five South Africans and people don’t understand what we try to say most of the time. Also, apparently ‘phoning’ is not a thing- you call people. What? When did this happen? And we say “ass well” instead of “as well”. Errrm…

‘Mericans.