Ancient Capital, Ancient Internet Connex

Trip Start Aug 25, 2010
Trip End Nov 23, 2010

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Flag of China  , Shaanxi,
Thursday, September 16, 2010

After a harrowing journey from Chengdu (a one hour plane ride that should have taken 4 hours of my time total - ended up being 7 hours because 1.) the flight was 1-1/2 hours late and 2.) my shuttle bus was involved with a 3 truck (big 18 wheeler trucks), 4 car, and one bus (mine) accident where amazingly, no one of the 40+ people involved was hurt), I made it to the hostel unscathed but in dire need of a pee.

I spent the evening chatting with a lovely lady from Yorkshire who told me of her exploits in Malayasia - she was very, very funny. In my dorm (where I have a bottom bunk for the first time in a week), I chatted with my roommates, 3 young women from France and Holland. They are world travelers and made plans to go hike a mountain two hours away and return the same evening. I have to tell you, I was feeling a little badly in that I am doing more of the middle aged touristy holiday than the badass 20 something climb mountains and do kung fu in the same day tour. Alas, I ams what I ams. Maybe next time when I am more settled here.

Spent this morning leisurely washing my hair (I hadn't in like 4 days), eating fruit and making plans for the next 10 days. Around noon,  I left the hostel and walked around the city for about 6 hours. I saw some amazing things. Bell Tower, Drum Tower (my favorite) the Great Mosque, a dumpling dinner, etc. I roamed around the Muslim quarter for several hours. Many retailers had big grasshoppers in little cages next to them. I thought at first they were crickets but eventually stopped and used my dictionary w/a woman who showed me what they were. Two inches long - very loud. Also, there were some meat stalls there I stopped to look at and I literally have NO IDEA what kind of meat they were selling. I was thinking turtles. But then I thought maybe like livers - whatever nasty nast. On a positive note, I saw blue sky today for the first time in days - they saw Xian is as polluted as anywhere else - maybe I got lucky with a cleansing wind.  

Tomorrow I booked a tour to see the Terracotta Warriors and some other sights. Tomorrow night I am taking the night train (a la GNR) to Pingyao - a UNESCO world heritage site that is sort of between here and Beijing. I am staying one night there (in my own room - hurrah) and then another night train (or not) to Beijing. I'll be staying in and around Beijing for the duration of the trip once I get there.

I will not be uploading pics on this machine as I am convinced it is a dsl or a 128 bps circa 1998 line. I can't get into my email here either. So hold tight for the next destination and I will write then if I can.

China is amazing. Sichuan is my favorite so far - the food, the people, the culture - all top notch.  I'll be sad to leave as I feel like I've only touched the surface. It's like trying to see Europe or Latin America in a month. Too much to do - too little time!

Ok I am off to eat some peanuts and read my book (again with the middle aged thing...) Until then...
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