Xi’an and Dengfeng
The first night in Xi’an was actually spent at a farm in the Qingling mountains. We drove out, walked up the mountain, drank local beer, played cards, ate delicious food, lit fires and roasted pineapple marshmallows, and played charades.
"We gave it to him and we don’t know what he’s doing."
"YOU SHOULD KNOW THIS, YOU’RE SCOTTISH!"
"How the hell do we do onomatopoeia?!"
There were no mattresses on the farm, so it was’nt a great night’s sleep, but the food was truly amazing. On the way back we went swimming in a little pool in a mountain stream. It was freezing cold but really fun.
Our guide in Xi’an was amazing, and had a great taste in restaurants. It got to the point where we were happy to go somewhere, let her order, and just eat what turned up. The first night a small group of us went with her to her favourite restaurant which was small and slightly dirty and didn’t look inspiring, but… the food was /amazing/, especially the sweet and sour, so we were happy to be there! The next night in the Muslim quarter we went to a famous dumpling restaurant where we had soup dumplings. They were delicious.
The terracotta warriors were amazing, they really were. It’s a fantastic feeling to be at a site like that, seeing something so spectacular, so famous… it was amazing. It really was. They all have different spaces, and there were some areas where they’d been broken and knocked down, and that was quite an eerie sight in a way because of how lifelike the figures were.
The detail was truly amazing, and I got all the pictures I could.
There were no mattresses or wester toilets in Xi’an. And I read Morse.
Then we got up early in the morning and left on a 6 hour coach trip to Dengfeng, the home of Shaolin Kung-fu.
We went to an orphanage and watched the Kung-fu show, and then had a lesson. That was fun, it was a challenge, but fun, I could keep up with the kung fu, but not the swords. Then we practised a party trick that resulted in bruised hands but was still fun.
The second day in Dengfeng we went to the Shaolin temple and watched the kung fu show there which was very impressive, but not as good as the orphans had been in some cases. Which is a testament to their skill, I think. And we watched Regina make an idiot of herself in the competition thing they ran. Which was hilarious.
Then everyone else climbed a mountain, up some stairs, in heat. I stopped halfway up and had an icecream because I felt very unwell and it seemed stupid to force myself onwards. I talked to Aziza instead and had a nice afternoon. All I missed was a small cave where you can’t take pictures, and a chalky Buddha statue erected in 1995.
That night we all had McDonalds and got on a night train to Beijing. I was in a compartment of loud Chinese people who decided that five to one in the morning was a good time to start talking loudly and slurping noodles. Did I mention we got off the train at 6:30 in the morning? Not a great night’s sleep.