Tuesday, November 20, 2007

China - Day 5 - Beijing to Xian

(Jessica and her twin-like friend/tour guide Ashley)

After our 4th night on the cement mattresses my back, albeit straight as an arrow, was hurting for a qualifiable bed that would rest my traveling body.

You'd think a day centered on a 1200 km flight or 800 miles would be relatively uneventful, but not on a CYTS 14 day tour of China. Prior to our flight, and on the way to the airport, we made a voyage to the temple of heaven.
Funny, of the 900 photos I took....I didn't take any of this place...I blame it on my mattress, or perhaps the fact that there were a gazillion people there and I retreated in my shell...or maybe I just haven't gotten to them in the 2 gigabyte folder worth of photos yet...In either case i didn't take that photo its from here: http://www.ebeijing.gov.cn/Tour/ScenicSpots/t161755.htm">

Maybe I'll find some photos I took and post them here later, but anyways...Temple of Heaven...basically another opulent Chinese Shrine built buy some Emperor in order to do something holy or well... you get the point.

The coolest part of the temple, in my opinion, was something that was altogether unrelated. Every morning thousand of retired Chinese people gather in the entrances to the temple and go fitness crazy. No, I'm not talking about those cheesey Saturday morning spandex arobisize classes you see on TV, I'm talking about sweet games that I normally only attempt while intoxicated or reliving my life as an 8 year old. From Hackey Sack: (I did better than this photo illustrates ;)

to Tie Chi, to flag dancing:


singing, dancing, to some crazy smashball looking thing you do under your legs like a ninja of paddlesport:

you name it, those old people know how to party. And I couldn't resist, and neither could Jessica, we jumped right in.... and got schooled by people 3-4times our ages, it was great!

We then left the temple, said goodbye to our tour guide, and boarded a plane to Xian, to see the Terracotta soldiers.

When we arrived we met our tour guide for the city of Xian who took us to our hotel, then to a amazing dumpling feast. We ate more dumplings that night than I had ever seen in my entire life, some 12 courses of every kind of dumpling imaginable:
We also had our first group member fall victim to counterfeit money, as we found out when the waitress practically threw the bill back at him and started yelling some crazy Chinese no one understood. We were then treated to some fancy Opera that I almost fell asleep through, nothing against the Opera, it was pretty good, but if you pull me through 800 miles of Chinese sights and sounds then stuff me full of dumplings, turn down the lights and put a bunch of men in crazy costumes who start singing to me on stage, I'm probably going to fall asleep 99 times out of 100.

We then went back to our new 5 star hotel, which I was very pleased to find had a real bed, and passed out.

Day 6 and the terracotta warriors to come soon.

Days 1-2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Day 6 Day 7 Day 8 Day 9 Day 10 Days 11-12 Day 13



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