CHINA: Xian's terracota soldiers & Yangtze Cruise

Trip Start Jan 01, 2014
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Trip End Dec 31, 2014


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Where I stayed
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Flag of China  ,
Wednesday, November 7, 2007

This was a rather long trip lasting 22-days that started in Beijing.  This was my third trip to Beijing, and compared to what it looked like when I first visited this megapolis, the changes have been dramatic in just a couple of decades.   My first visit seems out of place from what Beijing has become; the eleven million citizens of this city transported themselves by bicycles.   Today, most have cars, and they have essentially replaced the bikes with gas fumes.   The city was desperately filthy with trash strewn all over the cityscape in the old days, but today, one must look for trash - and spit on sidewalks.   The skyline has dramatically changed from a few story buildings to skyscrapers.   On my first visit, the hotel we stayed in was the tallest building in Beijing; today, it's one of the shortest.  My second visit to Beijing in 2000 was with my younger son.   Even the airport terminal used to be a wooden shack; today, it's a huge, modern, building.  

Times have changed, but so has the pollution in Beijing with all their cars and polluted water.   Our Tour Director, Grace Wang, who lives in Beijing told us they never drink or cook with tap water.   I believe that reveals much about what their economic growth is costing their country.

On this last trip to China, we stayed in a contemporary hotel, Ning Xia, in the Hutong District, and enjoyed the feel of old Beijing rather than the glass and steel buildings dominating the city.  

I will try to post my pictures in chronological order - in the order of our itinerary that began in Beijing(4), train to Xian(1),Xian(3), Yangtze River Cruise(3), Chengdu(2), Lhasa(3), Chengdu(1), and Hong Kong(3).

BEIJING:













We did the usual tourist visits to the Forbidden City, the Great Wall, cloisonne factory, carpet factory, opera training school for children, and a drive-by the new olympic stadium *bird's nest, and swimming pavilion that looks like drops of water.  During our free time, I walked in the Hutong area, and took the "new" subway to Tiananmen Square.

Night train to XIAN:


XIAN:










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YANGTZE RIVER:











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CHENGDU
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POTALA PALACE:

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Our overnight train to Xian was a good experience; the sleeper coach we were on was clean and in very good condition.  We slept well during the eleven hour train ride, and arrived in Xian refreshed. 

Xian (once called Chang'an during the Tang Dynasty) is one of the most important cities in China's history.  It is but one of four capitals of China, and was the capital for China during 13 dynasties.  We spent three nights in Xian at the Xian Garden Hotel, a joint venture between the Chinese and Japanese.  I also stayed here on my first visit to China in 1992.  

In addition to its history as China's capital, Xian is also famous for their terracotta soldiers (6,000+) that are still being excavated in its huge housings.   It was discovered by a farmer digging a well in 1974. 

While in Xian, we were also treated to spending hours in the Muslim quarter, seeing a cultural show, visit to a local jade factory, a visit to a school sponsored by the Grand Circle Foundation, and spending a night in a private home in a nearby village.

I seem to have lost my pictures taken after the Yangtze Cruise, and will look for them after I post some pictures I found in the first batch.










HONG KONG:

Pictures and commentary to follow tomorrow.
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