Apologies for the rather lacklustre blogs. Internet access is painfully slow here, so I am just using Mr Beet’s iPhone and no photos I’m afraid. I hope to catch up with proper blogs just as soon as I get a decent Internet connection, but in the mean time, I will just update you on where we are.
We left Beijing on Sunday night on the sleeper train to Xi’an. the train was very nice and there was no misbehaviour from either of our two roommates as there had been on the boat to Shanghai. We spent 3 days in Xi’an and it rained heavily for the first two. We had to brave the downpour and go and see the Terracotta Army. We eschewed the organised tour in favour of making it under our own steam on public buses. We eventually succeeded, although we got very wet in the process. Will blog about the trip when I can add the photos.
On the last day in Xi’an it did stop raining for long enough for us to have a little wander around the old town. We also pick up supplies from the Chinese version of Boots, where the shop assistant returns Mr Beet’s choice of deodorant to the shelf and tries to sell him an extra strength one instead. Maybe I’m just getting used to his “travel aroma” but he didn’t smell that bad to me!
The plan was to travel from Tokyo to Bangkok via land and sea. As soon as we got to Xi’an we tried to book our onward train ticket to Guilin. It’s 27 hours instead of a 90 minute flight they said, ok. The train costs more than the flight, ok we still want the train. There are no sleeper seats, only hard seats left. Hmmm… This means we get to share a wooden bench with 4 Chinese people, with nowhere to lie down (apart from the Chinese people’s laps) for 27 hours. We cracked and booked the plane tickets, and are now comfortably sitting on the veranda of a youth hostel in Sub-tropical Guilin.
OK, now for the illustrated edition. Here is a representative summary of our time in Xi’an.
The Terracotta army is definitely worth the trip to this soggy city. The sheer number of artefacts and the scale of the endeavour is astounding, as is the fact that its existence just got forgotten over the years. Nobody had a clue that something like it was around, and some people digging a well stumbled on it by pure chance as recently as the 1970s. It makes you wonder what else might be out there.
These guys used to be holding wooden weapons that have long since gone, leaving them looking as if they are playing paper-scissors-stone for eternity.
On the last day, it dried up enough for us to see some of the other sights, including the Drum and Bell Towers.
Can you guess which is which?
More photos of Xi’an at Mr Beet’s flickr page.