Xi'An and Shanghai

Having your own personal Chinese guide in Xi'An turned out to be just awesome - especially since she knew sooo much about Chinese history. We had a really good time together in Xi'An - seeing loads of historical things, exploring town a bit and one day on Hua Shan - a great mountain close to Xi'An.

The first day in Xi'An (not including the day we got there) we went on a tour to see the Terracotta warriors, the tomb of Qin Shi Huang, a new museum in Xi'An showing some of the history about Buddhism getting into China and Huaqing Pool. It was a great day - really interesting. The terracotta warriors were so impressing - it's hard to imagine someone building sooo many warriors and so long time ago. And they're still excavating the site - finding moe and more warriors all the time. Impressive! We also got to see the farmer who originally found the first terracotta warriors when he was digging a well - he was at the museum this day. The other places were less impressive, the tomb was huge, but since they hadn't opened it (lots of traps inside, they don't want to hurt anything, etc...) there wasn't really much to see except for a hill, some nice gardens and a hazy view over the landscape. The pool was a bit more interesting, especially since Xiao Hui (Helens Chinese name) knew a lot about the history and told us a great tale about the emperor and his favourite concubine.

The second day we spent going to Hua Shan - a mountain area close to Xi'An. That was just crazy! We came there quite late, so we ended up taking the cable car to the North Peak. From there you walked along the ridge to the next peak, so it was great views, cliffsides with hundreds of meters fall on both sides and small stone buildings that used to be temples up here. Impressive views, it was a shame that we didn't have time to see the whole area. Got some great photos from here which will be uploaded shortly. We also saw a man carrying a freezer on his back to the top. That was a real eye-opener, Xiao Hui talked to him and he had been carrying that 20 kh freezer from early morning and we saw him in the afternoon. Guess what he was payed for carrying 20 kg up the mountain which would take him more than a full day? 20 yuan!!! (Equivalent to 20 SEK or not even US$3). Insane!

The third day we did some more sightseeing in Xi'An (the Big Goose Pagoda), but most importantly we went to Haegen Dazs for some really nice ice-cream! That was just great, I've been missing good coffee and great ice-cream! Then I caught the 20 hour bus to Shanghai, which turned out be not as bad as I thought, only 24 hours long, only one accident (where we avoided coliding into the two buses standing still on the highway because of the dense mist with a few inches and instead just bumped into the side fence - leaving a small scratch on the bus and then standing still for three hours) and a bed that was just slightly too small to be comfortable.

So now I'm in Changhai - staying at Ashley's place. I will write more about Shanghai later when I've been here for a couple of days. Pictures will be uploaded later!

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