Day 5 Xi An and we're on our own
19.05.2016 - 19.05.2016 28 °C
Up to now we have had Huiliang and Angela look after us. Now it's just Jen and I to fend for ourselves. We need to be more careful, observant and struggle with the language. Saying that I have surprised myself with the number of words I remembered from being in China 20 years ago. The airport check-in went smoothly (despite being well over the domestic weigh limits) and arrived in Xi An, negotiated a driver and 1 hour later through dodgem car traffic we got to our very plush hotel. First impressions of Xi An is it is definitely not as modern as Shanghai, construction work everywhere, more pollution, more noise and cars with push bikes being replaced with electric motor bikes. As an electrical engineer, the local approach to wiring still leaves me bewildered!
Although, the streets are clean and regularly water trucks spray the dusty streets with water to keep the dust down. This reminded me of Beijing 20 years ago.
Dropped the bags off and walked Into the centre of town where we found the tourist offices and booked a day tour to the terracotta warriors for tomorrow and then kept walking the streets. Xi An is the start of the Silk Road and one of the oldest cities in China.
Most famous for the Qin or Ch'in Dynasty (likely origin of "China") which came to power as a dynasty (221-206/207 B.C.) by unifying China under its first emperor, Shi Huangdi (Shih Huang-ti). The Qin is the start of the imperial period. This guy unified China, created their currency and moved the country away from being ruled by war lords. The city has a mere population of 10 million plus, surrounded by a massive 12m high stone wall with a moat around the whole city. The wall goes for about 4 km in length and you can walk along it. Also beautiful gardens along the moat edge that you can also walk along.
The Bell Tower near the centre of town is akin to the Arc du Triomphe, with a crazy washing machine of a round-about around it. There is no such thing as give way, just merge with care,
Lots of walking this afternoon earned us a beer and successfully made our way to Xi An and looking forward to seeing the terracotta warriors now regarded as the 8th wonders of the ancient world!