Xi'an, and the start of the Himalayan epic!
Xi'an Travel Blog› entry 6 of 16 › view all entries
Dammit! Its no fun writing about stuff 6 weeks after its happened! Kind of a chore really :( but now that im out of the Dragoman bubble and on my own for the most part im gonna try and get up to date double time.
So after Shanghai I had to be in Xi'an by the 3rd of August to start the overland tour to Kathmandu. This was always pretty much gonna be the centre piece of the whole few months travelling. It started about 6 weeks ago so the details may be a little fuzzy but here goes...
OK! So arrived in Xi'an on the morning of the 3rd after a long (17 hours) overnight train from Shanghai, and went straight to the Hotel where were supposed to meet (4*... nice but I think we peaked a bit too early!). I think I was feeling tired, hungry and a bit anxious id forgotten something important for the trip! Anyways I went into the lobby where all the Dragoman people were milling around, introducing themselves etc, and the first guy I met was Riki, one of the drivers (the 2 drivers basically run the whole trip) and one of the most relaxed guys youd ever meet so straight away it was a good vibe and I realised I could relax, its not gonna feel all like a school trip! Trouble is he also told me to dump my stuff cos we were off to see the Terracotta warriors straight away (obviously I was looking forward to seeing them, but a shower and some breakfast woulda been nice).
So the Terracotta warriors were a bit like the great wall in that they were pretty cool but didnt really blow me away. Its another case of something which looks exactly like the thousands of photos youve already seen, except much less atmospheric (it had a VERY sterile atmosphere). I liked the idea that theyd only discovered 1000 of the 8000 which were supposedly built, so theres another 7000 down there somewhere. I also liked hearing about the emperor Qin's tomb which the warriors were supposed to be 'guarding'. They apparently know where the site of tomb is (about 3km from the warriors) but for now are deciding not to excavate. The description makes it sound like if they do excavate itll become one of the most amazing sites in the world. It was the same emperor who built the great wall I think. Supposedly hew was a real tyrant but then on the bright side I guess tyrants are the only ones with the power to take on such massive (and pointless) projects!
And in the evening everyone went out, got drunk and got to know all the people we'd be spending the next 5 weeks with. Actually there were loads of us, 2 trucks worth. Two trips had just ended in Xi'an (from hong kong and Beijing) and two trips were just about to start (to Kathmandu and to Kazakstan) with a lot of people continuing on from the previous trips, so it was a fun night. Spent a couple more days in Xi'an, pretty uneventful though very relaxing, then headed off to wherever it was we went next (I cant remember where right now, ill check my photos!)