Wednesday, March 13, 2013

China Trip - X'ian


 

 
Day 1 in X'ian
After our 2.5 hour plane ride from Beijing to X'ian.  We had lunch at a restaurant famous for their noodles.  They are making them in the background of this picture.  They were delicious.
After lunch we headed straight for the Wild Goose Pagoda.  It was a site built about 600 years ago to house some precious Buddhist writings and treasures.
There was a huge bell just calling to me...


We paid the extra 30 yuan (like $4) to climb to the top of the Pagoda. The view was pretty awesome from all 4 sides.  It was really breezy up there though.

Here's the view.  It's much better in real life.  The smog was HORRIBLE that day.  Even the guide said she'd never seen it that bad. 

There were "mind your head" signs all the way up the stairs. 
 
 While driving to our next place we saw this guy with his loaded down bike.  Seriously? I would fall over.
The city of X'ian is separted into the inner and outer part of the city.  The inner part used to be for royalty.  To keep the commoners and enemies out they built a huge wall around the inner city.  The wall is 600 years old.  It is about 32 kilometers around, about 18 miles.



This "Mulan Style" soldier was dressed up at the entrance. 
Up to the top of the wall. That's our guide from X'ian.  She picked us up from the airport and showed us around. Her name is Abby.
You could rent a tandem bike and ride the 18 mile loop around the top of the wall.  It was so fun to see the different views of the city.




 
 That night we had a special dumpling banquet with a traditional Chinese dance show. 
Each dumpling was shaped like the kind of filling it had.
Duck, Pig, Fish, Cabbage...there were many more, but we didn't take pictures.




 
Day 2 - Xian
 The next morning we went to a Lama Temple on our own.  We just walked from our hotel.  It was very interesting to see the monks walking around and some even chanting / praying inside the temple.  There were also some local people there bringing offerings for the different budha statues. 
 
 It seems the "god of wealth" will only answer your prayer if you offer up some alcohol!  That's a big stash!

It was strange to see an ancient statue with offerings like, coke, sprite, water bottles...such random stuff.
There were a lot of statues.  But the biggest statue of the main buddha was in this 2 story building.  It was huge!



I don't know what this was, but it was a cool looking building.
 
Terracota Soldiers!
Before we went to the actual archelogical site, we went to the factory were they make replicas in the same way they did back 2000 years ago.  (except now they use a mold, they didn't then)
 Here's a woman adding hand sculpted details to the molded soldier.

Then we went to the museum where the soldiers are.  It's a huge building built around the archelogical site, that they are still working on! We could see right down into the pit. 


 Here you can see some of the pieces of the soldiers that haven't been put together yet.


They put the soldiers together like a huge 3D puzzle.

This is a "kneeling archer".  He was found intact. 

I was surprised to learn that when these soldiers were discoverd, they were painted and colorful.  Here you can see this one still has 2000 year old red color on the back of his armour.


 After we explored all 3 archelogical sites, we headed back into town to check out the Drum Tower.


This is the largest drum in the world. 
All in all, this experience was amazing.  I learned a lot about another culture.  I also learned I'm glad I live in the good old US of A.  It was also fun to spend some alone time with Russ exploring new and excited places we've never been to.   We will be forever grateful to the good friends we've made here in Guam that were awesome enough to take care of our kiddos while we in CHINA!!!

Monday, March 11, 2013

CHINA - Beijing




 Great Wall of China!!
It's also known as the longest cemetary in the world because so many people died building it.  It was amazing.  We were surprised to see that the section we were going to climb basically went straight up the moutain side.  It was a hike!






 You probably can't see me, but I'm there!

 These are the public toliets in China.  Talk about a culture shock.  You also had to bring your own toilet paper or you were out of luck.
 This is the longest corridor in the world.  It's basically an outdoor hallway.
 We went to a silk factory.  They showed us how they harvest the silk from the cocoons of the silk worms and then they let us pull on them to show us the strength of the silk.  This was our guide, Serri, from Beijing.
 I'm really bad at using chopsticks.  In hindsight, I probably should have practiced before our trip.  I made a huge mess of the tale cloth at every meal. 

 The chinese people believe in soaking your feet, and a good foot massage to promote good health.  We took advantage of this and had 2 foot massages during our trip.  (a foot massage includes your feet, your arms, your head and your legs)
 This is the Olympic Stadium from the 2008 Olympics that were in Beijing.  They don't really use a lot of the buildings they constructed for the Olympics - it's kind of sad.

 This is the Temple of Heaven.  It's an entire structure built without a single nail.  The wood connects perfectly. 
 Most of the buildings have raised thresholds.  (I'm standing on the red one in this doorway.) So you have to step over the beam before you enter a house.  This is to ward off evil spirits.
 This is the entrance to the forbidden city.  It was fun to imagine how the emporer, the empress and all his concubines lived together.  They called this the forbidden city because only royal people were allowed in, no commoners. The concubines were selected around the age of 13 and then trapped inside until around 18.  If the emporer never chose them, they were released. The Forbidden palace was made up of many buildings with a total of 9,000 rooms.  It took 14 years and 1 million people to build this palace!

 One night we had "hot pots" for dinner.  You basically boil your own meat and veggies.  It was yummy.