Not much today… it was mostly a travel day. We made our way from Xi’an to Beijing. Beijing International Airport boasts the second largest terminal in the world behind Dubai. My dad has a friend in Beijing and he was kind enough to let us stay in his condo. This friend of his is a big cheese, he builds gated communities just outside the city. He brought us to one of these communities that he actually lives in and showed us around his home, the showroom, etc… After that, we went to have dinner and back to the condo.
Day 3, I was finally getting used to the humid air. I thought that the gray haze over the air was pollution but then I realized that I live in Vancouver, been to LA and New York… I know what pollution looks like. It’s brown, not gray. I work across the Burrard inlet and on a clear morning, I can see the nice brown cloud hanging over downtown Vancouver. So… if it’s not pollution and smog, then what is it? I can only guess that it’s humidity… if it was smog, there would be acid rain but I see no signs of acid rain erosion on 30 year old cars…
Anyways, day 3… it rained… a lot… but that wasn’t going to stop us. We went into that museum that we walked by in day 2. It was like a museum of anthropology, mostly old artifacts, human evolution in China, etc… There was even a few of the terracotta warriors. After a few hours in there, the rain stopped. We went back to the pagoda and walked around the grounds. The large water fountain was still going during the day as well. We went into the pagoda to get a view of the city from the top. Funny thing happened after we left the pagoda. There are a lot of these “tour guides” that hang around the tourist spots that always come up to you and ask if you want a tour… anyways, one of these guys came up to me and was being very persistent. I told him that I couldn’t speak speak chinese and I guess he didn’t understand what I said and took it the wrong way. Fisticuffs nearly ensued.
After we ate, we went to walk around the city wall. There’s a huge wall that goes all around the city… well, the original city of Xi’an. It’s quite interesting, all the older buildings are inside the walls and the new ones are outside the walls. It’s an interesting mixture of old and new. Got some pictures of some interesting snacks and Mcdonald’s pies that we don’t have… Banana and taro root. We grabbed dinner afterwards and went back to the hotel. We have an early flight in the morning to Beijing.
My parents have been nagging my sister and I to go back to China with them. After years of talking about this, we finally made it happen back in May….. and I finally feel like posting up the pictures… in October…. We spent a good two weeks in three of China’s major cities. Xi’an, Beijing and Shanghai. Pictures were taken with a Sony WX1. Sorry if some of the pics are blurry, I bought the camera the day before I left so I never had a chance to get to know it. I was also carrying my old Windows Mobile phone with the GPS running, tagging my position every 5 seconds. I used the GPS tracks to geotag all my photos so you know exactly where the picture was taken. You’ll need to save the picture and view it in Picasa or iPhoto to show the picture’s geographical location. I’ll have to write another blog entry on how to do that another time.
Anyways… the trip.. The flight to Shanghai was just over 12 hours and after another 3 hour flight, I landed in Xi’an in the evening. Our hired driver met us at the airport and drove us out to some bunk ass hotel on a university campus. We got a night of sleep and was up bright ‘n early for the first day in China. As a car person, my first impression was how incredibly smooth the roads were… look past the roads and you’ll notice how spotlessly clean the streets were.
Our first day was full of activities, we went to see the Terracotta Warriors, some palace where the KMT held it’s last stand before fleeing to Taiwan, a Muslim street market and we checked out the worlds largest water fountain that was built in front of a 7 story pagoda.