Day 10

Day 10– Xi An to Beijing   I was too tired to upload photos after the terra cotta soldier trip yesterday but here is one.   Those of us on the panda express started early.  It was a tough choice – sleep in late (a luxury) or pay about $25 to travel to see the panda reserve.  20 hearty souls chose to be checked out of the hotel and in the lobby by 7 am to beat the rush hour traffic and get to the pandas when they were their most active.

We headed out of Xi An and got on a toll-way on our self titled Panda Express mini bus.  By the way, just because it’s a toll-way doesn’t keep the locals from crossing with their cows, children or vehicles that are difficult to describe.   I do hope to capture some traffic video – we’re still not used to it. We arrived in a small town and parked.  The reserve is for all types of rare animals – we saw peacocks (including an albino) and Golden Monkeys in addition to the pandas.  Hannah wrote about visiting the cuddly bears so I won’t.

First place we’ve been without a gift shop – the place must not get many foreigners.   After a wonderful visit, by the way, we were the only visitors and our guide said it was the most bears he’d ever seen, we reloaded up for the journey back to Xi An.  We met up with our regular buses at the Shaankxi Museum – a free museum of the province.  It was full of artifacts and paintings and unlike other “museums” we have visited it was a real museum.  Museums here seem to be an opportunity to shop.  We enter, get a short lecture about pearls, jade, terra cotta and then you enter an enormous gift shop.  The running joke among the chaperones is we can’t wait to get back to the Park Meadows Museum.  The shops have done well – you can look forward to heavier suitcases at DIA next week.

After we visited the real museum it was off to lunch.   It’s usually either served family style or buffet.  To make us feel welcome, French fries were served along with mild Sichuan food.  We had a chef making us fresh rice noodle soup, kung pao chicken and many other familiar dishes.

Today’s “Museum” was the jade museum.  Fortunately most of the kids were restrained at this one – too expensive for our students.  Or they’re shopped out although I doubt it.    Then off to the Wild Goose Pagoda Park.  This is a major pagoda with modern fountains in front.  It was a very nice place to hang out and some of our students played their violins in the park.  That attracted a large crowd and local police kept an eye on the situation.    It’s the first time we know we were being watched.  While we attract plenty of attention, usually it is local girls wanting photos with us.    Then off to another meal before we hit the airport.  Not that we needed it – but teenagers do like to eat.  Air travel is very easy here.  Our guide negotiated a group baggage check in so we didn’t have to show id to check our bags- they were lined up and fed onto an x-ray machine.  At every airport so far, we have had our own baggage carrousel.  This is very nice.  I’m on the flight now and we were served yet another meal for a 1½ flight.  Half our group is on China Eastern and the rest on some other carrier.   We arrive into Beijing after 11pm so it’ll be a late night.

Posted in China Trip 2010.

One Response

Stay in touch with the conversation, subscribe to the RSS feed for comments on this post.

  1. Lisa Feare

    Thank you so much for those of you who writen in the blog. You have kept those of us left in Colorado updated! We miss you, and are so happy you are having a good trip! Lisa

    June 12, 2010 4:31 pm