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Travel
23
Apr
2011
The Clay Things E-mail
Reviews - Travel
Written by Brit Deitner
Xi’an was the second leg of our trip. Josh really wanted to see the “Terracotta Warriors.” Knowing absolutely nothing about China before the trip, I began to refer to them as “The Clay Things.” Not because I didn’t know their name, but because I didn’t understand the logic of taking an 18 hour train ride to the near middle of the country to see them.

It was decided long ago that Josh was the tour guide, and we were doing what he wanted. I was game for anything really. Getting There: Actually, the overnight train from Beijing to Xi’an was only 12 hours long, which wasn’t too bad. Since it was two hours late (we left at 11:30 pm), Josh and I went right to bed. It always helps when you share a room with 4 Chinese people, because staying up chatting with new friends was not really an option.

 
17
Apr
2011
My visit to Xi'an E-mail
Reviews - Travel
Written by Leyla Lopos
It must be depressing living in a city like this, at least it would be for me--Xi'an would be one of the last cities I want to move to. It seems the environment of Xi'an has been badly polluted, and the climate isn't that good. Most of the time, the sky is grey, and the pollution is causing poor visibility, the city looks foggy.

Xi'an is an old city. During past 3100 years of development, 12 dynasties held it as their capitals. But Xi'an doesn't look as old as Beijing. Since Beijing was the capital of Ming and Qing Dynasty, only a couple of hundred years away from today, many old stuff like some palaces, imperial parks, temples, The Great Wall... are still kept well. But Xi'an was the capital of Western Zhou, the Qin, the Han, the Sui and the Tang, between 1000-3000 years ago, most ancient stuff was already destroyed and gone over time.

 
28
Dec
2010
Terracotta Warriors E-mail
Reviews - Travel
Written by Matthew Grist
Today we visited the tomb and mausoleum of Emperor Jing of Han, which is a comfortable 90 minutes or so from our accommodation in Xi'an. The tombs were built between 153 and 126 BC, and there are many other tombs in the vicinity, of other Han emperors, as well as of less prestigious personages, right down to a prisoners’ graveyard.

There are museums housing artefacts retrieved from the tombs, the foundations of ruined buildings from the period, and the remains of an imposing double gatehouse that has been excavated and then had a large, protective structure built over it in the style of what the original building is supposed to have looked like. It was amazing to look at the huge, mud-brick ramparts, with some remaining tiles, flagstones and even traces of timber beams, and to think that the structure I was looking at, on the other side of a small railing, had been built some 2200 years ago.

 
30
Sep
2010
Between two capitals: Xi'an and Beijing E-mail
Reviews - Travel
Written by Anda Melchior
In its long history, China had many capitals. Xi'an served as the capital during the Han dynasty (late BCs -- early Ads) and then again for almost 400 years in medieval times serving four other one-syllable dynasties.

Beijing was also a capital on and off, starting somewhere in the 12th century (the Jin dynasty, if you must know). Xi'an is a pleasant city. Like Jerusalem, it has a magnificent wall that surrounds the old city, and in it you may find the Muslim quarter. As pleasant and beautiful and happening as it may be, Xi'an is visited by scores of tourists chiefly because of the historic sites near it, the first and foremost of which is the famous army of Terracotta warriors. In 1974, while digging a well, peasants found what turned out to be one of the greatest archeological discoveries of the 20th century - underground vaults that stored thousands of life-size terracotta warriors, with horses and chariots.

 
13
Jul
2010
Dunhuang: City of Sands E-mail
Reviews - Travel
Written by Bro Fan
The dry-mouth, red-eye 5am wake-up, the manic shower, the sudden realisation that you haven’t packed any underwear - and then out the door before you really resolve the pressing matter of how many pairs of shoes to take. One long cab ride, a characteristically stressful check in, and a mad dash for the gate: it could only be an early morning flight from Beijing airport.

An hour or two later, my eyes open and out the window I can see nothing but sand - as far as the eye can see, miles and miles of nothing. China may well be the most populated country in the world - but a rather large percentage of it contains a huge amount of nothing at all. I had a sneaky feeling that this trip out to the North West would confirm this suspicion of mine. As the plane came in to land, there was still nothing to be seen. “What the hell are we doing here?” I heard someone ask - excellent question, but I was very excited to be finding out the answer.

 
07
Jun
2010
Kashgar E-mail
Reviews - Travel
Written by Bro Fan
So it is all very well being here in Kashgar and recounting tales of camel burgers, Tajik wrestlers and how I nearly got involved in a knife fight after a slight miscommunication on price one morning. Thing is, though, since I live in Beijing, on the other side of the damn continent, I have to somehow get all the way back home. Not really sure I should bother though - I’m closer to Europe here than to Beijing, so I’m half-tempted to pack in this China-thing, get the bus to Pakistan this afternoon and check out what Iran’s like in early August.

But I’m out of cash, clean underwear and on a three-line whip to make it back to the ‘jing before next week. Mei banfa I’ll have to train it. Whilst Kashgar is all great for all these Central Asians, it’s not all that fangbian for those of us wishing to head back to relative civilisation back East. The super-duper quick double-decker sleeper train still takes 24 hours as it skirts the Taklamakan desert - and as stunning as the mountains, dunes and millions of bizarre wicker fences are, it’s a damn long way back to Urumqi, before I even think about getting back to the capital.

 
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