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FEBUARI

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Xi'an

I love Xi'an so much. Every time I browse through my travel pictures, I'm going to take my sweet time checkout the details of Xi'an. I want to remember them as I walk out from the train... eager to meet my vietnamese friend at Shuyuan Youth Hostel, planning to climb Hua Shan together. I remember, the time I walk out from the train station... the huge Xian wall is infront of me with bustling Xian locals doing their morning chores. I was accompany by a girl from Datong that actually work at Shuyuan. She show me the way to Shuyuan before heading to her home.


When I reached Shuyuan in November 10, 2010, I am glad to meet Albert (Albert and I meet at Datong and travel around Yugang Grottoes and Hanging Monastery 2 days before). He arrived around 9:00am and hour earlier before me. I took a quick shower, leaving my big packs at Shuyuan and both of us took city bus towards xi'an train station. We took our lunch at McDonalds... :P hehehe... nearby the main bus station then walk towards the bus station for Hua Shan villages. Luckily Albert can read a little Hanzi and converse in mandarin, so we didn't find any trouble to locate our bus towards the village.

The bus depart around 3pm. Later that we know it took more than 2 hours to reach HuaShan Villages... hehehe... when we reach at the villages both of us eager to climb Hu Shan. We don't have any plan... just climb.

The first hour was easy... it was cold, but easy. The path lead us to an outstanding view... rock formations... beautiful stream... when the path gets steeper... we bought ourselves a cane to support the walk. The path getting steeper and steeper, the steps getting smaller and smaller when we passing another hour. Despite the slow and unforgiving steepness. The view is remarkably outstanding... we even can see the north peak. While Albert camera keep on failing him, I'm continuously took every scene and beautiful landscape that I can.

We just realize that we only have 2 apples for the whole climb. dang!

Small and steep stairs.

Between the hike there's quite a few shelter to rest. I can't stop bragging about the beautiful scenery. It was breathtaking. When the hike became more vertical... it was getting dark and freezing. We didn't reach the north peak yet. It looks very near but still it was far away.

I'm so lucky buying a nice hiking boots few days back at Beijing, I realized that I couldn't survive if I hike Hua Shan with my Vibram Five Fingers... my feet could be screaming for help. :P

Dark and freezing Hua Shan.

It's 9:00pm, and we still climbing. I realize that we hike at a mountain spine. The wind is very strong and freezing. We need to cover our mouth and nose to keep on going. Didn't realize we passing through the north peak. Before the road split into three going to different peaks (east, west and south peak). There's a monastery... both of us decided to stop and rest at this monastery before continuing hike tomorrow. Luckily is was winter... there's plenty of space. :)

Despite the luxury, the bed... the pillow even the bed frame is freezing cold. The room is very basic. Unfortunately my sleeping bag is NOT suitable for this kind of weather. Albert is kind enough to share his hand warmer to ease my uncomfortable sleep. However, I'm determine to woke up early to catch sunrise at the East Peak.

Sunrise at EAST PEAK. 
Before that I accidently wait at other place called Dragon Pavilion. 

Albert didn't join me for the sunrise. After breakfast... I hike again with Albert for West and South peak. Then visited the East peak again. The view was insanely beautiful.

South Peak

A Pavilion. View before hike to East Peak

Steep stairs towards North Peak.

Later November 11, 2010 afternoon, around 2:00pm we decent Hua Shan and took cable car down near the North Peak. Took our lunch and catch bus toward Xi'an around 4:00pm.

Later that night, Albert went to see Chinese Traditional Dances while I walk to Xi'an muslim quarter. There's a lot of bazaar. Xi'an muslim is close to Uigur culture. I notice it from their food. Hui muslim normally eat noodles. :) while Uigur eat lots of lamb meat, bbq, and fragrance rice.

Xi'an Drum Tower

Xi'an Muslim Quarter

The food was delicious and cheap. I took a whole lamb leg that night... it was spicy and make my tongue numb till the next morning. hehehe.

Early morning November 12, 2010. I and Albert going visiting the famous Terracotta Warrior site. I can't imagine how they do it and why?... from more than thousand warrior statue... NON of them identical... and they can determine 9 tribe/race... it looks like human flesh being curse into stone. MAYBE... looks like it. It was made during QIN SHI HUANG the first china emperor.


Terracotta Warrior Site.

There's two rumors the existing of the terracotta warrior. One... the King of Qin are eager to conquer afterlife, so he build an army for that. Two he is afraid of his afterlife he made a stone army to protect him. :P

After that we made our way to Xian Museum. Where lots of old artifacts and figurine from the great QIN SHI HUANG era. They even shift few terracotta warrior to the museum.

Later that afternoon. We walk towards Goose Pagoda. If you guys familiar with chinese literature JOURNEY TO THE WEST... Wukong the Monkey, Pig and Orge.. with their monk Xuanzang.. their journey to India starts from here at Goose Pagoda. :)

Goose Pagoda and beautiful modern landscape surroundings

Later that night Albert took train towards Chengdu. While I planned to spend another day at Xi'an before heading to Chengdu too.

On November 13, 2010. this is my last day in Xi'an. I woke up early that morning for the Great Xi'an Wall. Climb up the wall and rent a bicycle to ride along the huge wall path. It is a great way to see Xi'an city from the wall. I checkout my hostel, the train station and bus station from above. The McDonalds that I took lunch before heading towards Huashan village. Took own sweet time... venturing the wall and observe local activities.

Cycling at The Great Xi'an City Wall

Xi'an North Train Station

tadaaa... McDonalds. :P

After return the bike, I visit Xi'an muslim quarter again for lunch and hoping to visit Xi'an Great Mosque. Searching the mosque is quite a task. I join my room mate a swedish couple also looking for the mosque. After asking for directions (despite the language difficulties) we managed to locate the mosque. :)

The Great Xi'an Mosque

Quranic verse carve on the wooden wall.

Spend less than an hour... split with the couple and rush back to Shuyuan (hostel). All three of us meet back at Shuyuan and rush towards the train station. The traffic was horrible... the three of us abort the packed bus and run towards the train station. I was very late... luckily we are the last three person before the train gate closed. Catching my breath at my cabin berth... I was relieved.

Xi'an will always be in my memory. For all places in CHINA... Xi'an is one of my favorite.


Next destination is Chengdu, Sichuan.