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Xi'an and Juizghou National Park

Xi'an, China


So I say goodbye to Om in Hohhot...with the idea of meeting up again in Chengdu...

and my farewells to Hohhot and the Anda Guesthouse...and board my second train in China, an overnighter to Xi'an, the home of the Terracotta Warriors...!

I'd seen pictures and documentary by Dan Cruickshank in his 'around the world in 80 treasures' series, (recommend watching). From what I remember they looked about a meter tall and pretty cool...
I arrived in Xi'an with a bit of time to kill before meeting up with Yuan (my host)...you could say I liked Xi'an from the off with it's bustling city center, food market, Bell and drum towers and pagodas and not forgetting it's nightlife...

Half way through the week I met up with another CS Leon who along with Yuan made my experience in Xi'an pretty awesome...! Enjoy...!

The Warriors turned out to be much more than I expected...after walking around the huge excavated pits the final (pit 3) below was most impressive...i didn't realise the warriors would be almost life size and that there would be literally hundreds of them accompanied with horses...!


Xi'an and the traditional Bell tower dancer/musicians...

some afternoon groovers in the park...

Some restaurants would have staff relay races as means of 'team building' mmm...how would that go down in the UK...?!

The Big goose Pagoda...

a brilliantly funny tranvestite street entertainer...even though I couldn't understand him/her, he/she was hilarious...! and kinda cute...?!

a song to ponder...

Jiuzhaigou national park...

I'd read about Jiuzhaigou in my guide book and seen some unreal pictures of marine and turquoise coloured still lakes with lush surroundings...it was on the way from Xi'an to Chengdu and so I thought...

why not..?!

That question has often led me to some problems along the course of this trip...however fun and exciting the outcome turned out to be...!!!

So I planned to get the overnight train to Guangyuan then a bus which I was expecting would take a few hours at the least...
To summerise...the journey turned out to be one of the best surprise routes of my trip... The train from Xi'an to Guangyuan was as always, relaxing and enjoyable...
So...I get off at Guangyuan, and make my way to the bus depo...some how managed to get my ticket...I met this lady, who went out of her way to help me...only she was speaking Chinese the whole entire time..! pointing and showing money was my only form of comunication....!
So I'm waiting on the bus which looks pretty run down, the everyone nods at me and exchanges a few words amongst themselves to acknowledge that yes I am a foreigner and that I speak no Chinese... but this doesn't bother me as I've come to realise language is just one form of communication and as a result I have become a master of reading body language and gestures...or so I think...

we set off and as always in countries where there are a bazillion people, people frequently boarded and got off the bus all along the way...The road starts to deteriorate and this is where it starts to get interesting...I have no fear as the 40-50 year old driver is a pro and has probably driven this route his whole life...we rise and fall on snake like roads swooping in, out and around the valley floor, through crumbled old villages with residents who have probably never seen cities like Beiijing and have lived in this remote valley their whole life...at one point we stop when the narrow single lane road is congested by oncoming traffic...a work man looks up and with complete shock mouths the word laowai (a derogatory term for a foreigner), I smile and wave to him, hesitantly he responds...

(I'm always shocked to see that multi-coloured tracksuit bottoms can be worn by the youths of today even in the most remote parts of the world...!)

Down below is an intro to the mysterious blue waters I'd be seeing in Jiuzhaigou Park, with odd shaped boats and locals going about their business, fishing and farming...

(check out some of the pictures in 'photos' for this).

The road begins to flatten out and we start to approach a town near Jiuzhaigou in the dark, it's 11 hours since I left Guangyuan, nearly there...
The driver says goodbye and mentions something, but what I don't understand is that I'm still about an hour from where I want to be...I try to explain my situation to the car park attendant who is there with his wife and two very cheeky but adorable daughters...as I tell them it should be a short taxi ride costing around 2 pounds they tell me it's more like 12 pounds...I gesture with my hands that the journey and should be short and that what their suggesting is a 'looonnnngggg' journey...I say the word long in this way...as I do the two girls start giggling and repeat this word with the hand gesture over and over again...each time it gets funnier and we re all laughing at the absurdity of the situation I've got myself in...
I walk into town to confirm and get some clearer info and directions...meanwhile the girls follow me and blurt out all the broken English they know from movies and things they've herd...I walk back with them, giggling along the way...this takes my mind of the fact that I m totally knackered from the two days of traveling...their father calls me a cab and as I pull away...with the window down, hands waving the little girl in the yellow jacket starts crying and tells me she doesn't want me to leave (or something similar)...after the day I've had I start as well...a very special moment, one of many I was so fortunate to have on my journey...

As for the park words can't describe as I seem to prove in the video below...check out how times I say the word 'Amazing'...ridiculous...!






permalink written by  willrob on March 28, 2010 from Xi'an, China
from the travel blog: Rob Williams 'a year in the making'
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