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HongJapWan March 2014
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Tokyo3 October 2012
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Korea September 2011
Taiwan March 2011
London3 June 2010
Japan May 2010
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London September 2009
SE Asia December 2005

The great loop of China - April 2018 - Page 4

Day 10 - Monday, 23 April 2018

How to make a short train ride really long

After what seemed like an all day journey to take a 2 hour train ride, I have arrived at my hotel in Xian.
I will talk more about Xian when I have seen some of Xian.

I already alluded to why it would take so long to get here, lack of availability of high speed train tickets meant I had to leave Zhengzhou from the western station not the central station. Also not the eastern station I arrived at 3 days ago which was connected via the subway system. Instead I took an earlier high speed train to the western station where I waited for 2.5 hours. I expected this to be a huge modern station, well it was modern, but tiny, not even a shop! Just a single platform. I have no idea why it exists, theres not really anything nearby, just farms.

Once I finished waiting for 2.5 hours the ride was quite fun, a group of men played a very loud card game and got super animated. At first I thought they all knew each other, but this is the great thing about China, they didnt. Some of the players got off at intermediate stations, and then other people got on or walked up from other carriages and joined the game.
A guy sitting next to me waited for a while before someone left and he then joined in, the card table was set up by re arranging 2 blocks of 3 seats into club seating, and sticking a bucket on the ground with a suitcase on top, room for 6 players.
They played at the end of the carriage where you can store bags behind the seats, but that area now became standing room for spectators.

If you tried to join someones card game on a train in Australia, you would be arrested at the next station.

Once I arrived at Xian north ultra modern high speed station, I had to do two more tasks before heading to my hotel, both were time consuming. First I had to buy another train ticket for tomorrows adventure, which will be long and challenging, and then I had to buy a ticket for the subway into town. Both of these required line policing where I grab people trying to push in and tell them they have no culture. The final challenge, expereinced by me and many Chinese people, was getting the subway ticket machines to correctly suck in a bank note. Everyone was frustrated by how poorly this was working on all the machines, fix this Xian!

Because of this travel boredom, record low number of photos today!

The great loop of China - April 2018 - Here is ZZ central station, I thought it would be really old inside, it was quite modern, it had a KFC but no Starbucks or Mcdonalds. Very busy even t

Here is ZZ central station, I thought it would be really old inside, it was quite modern, it had a KFC but no Starbucks or Mcdonalds. Very busy even though this was around 7:30AM - things dont generally happen early in China.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - My 10 minute journey deposited me at the western station, here it is. I walked away from it hoping to find something to amuse myself with, I found not

My 10 minute journey deposited me at the western station, here it is. I walked away from it hoping to find something to amuse myself with, I found nothing. I could not wander far as I was dragging my suitcase.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - This is the entirety of the inside of the station, now you might think this looks large, but for a Chinese high speed rail station its tiny. Some of t

This is the entirety of the inside of the station, now you might think this looks large, but for a Chinese high speed rail station its tiny. Some of these station serve over a million people each day. This one strangely does not even have a single shop, and no vending machine, nowhere to buy water!


The great loop of China - April 2018 - Most trains went straight through without stopping, when mine came only a few of us thirsty individuals clamoured up the stairs with our bags to board

Most trains went straight through without stopping, when mine came only a few of us thirsty individuals clamoured up the stairs with our bags to board the train. There were no escalators or lifts, and at least 50 stairs up to the platform.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - Here is Xian, the bell tower to be precise, wheres the bell? This is just a taste of Xian, more on this later. The city seems futuristic, tourist frie

Here is Xian, the bell tower to be precise, wheres the bell? This is just a taste of Xian, more on this later. The city seems futuristic, tourist friendly, up market. All because of some clay statues.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - This is the view out of my hotel this time, I guess those are the shared gardens for the apartments surrounding them, with skylights into the car park

This is the view out of my hotel this time, I guess those are the shared gardens for the apartments surrounding them, with skylights into the car park below.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - My room is a bit smaller, but very western, very modern. It has a strange entrance and waiting lobby for the separate Shower and Toilet, its all like

My room is a bit smaller, but very western, very modern. It has a strange entrance and waiting lobby for the separate Shower and Toilet, its all like a Japanese hotel, but probably twice as big.
One unusual thing, it has a well stocked FREE minibar. Yes free. Theres no alcohol but there are chips, chocolates, soft drinks. I remember one time in Nanjing the minibar was free too.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - Since I had not eaten, it was time to select a bakery, only 5 to choose from 100 metres from the door of my hotel. I chose one claiming to be Taiwanes

Since I had not eaten, it was time to select a bakery, only 5 to choose from 100 metres from the door of my hotel. I chose one claiming to be Taiwanese, and got a sushi roll sandwich and a huge cake. Both amazingly delicious. I want more of the cake, it had crunchy stuff in it, candied cockroaches perhaps.


The grandest scale

Everything in Xian is huge and made to look ancient, except its all really very modern, and ultra clean, and well lit. I like it.
There are certainly tourists here, presumably all to see the terracotta warriors, which seem to fund the entire cities wealth even though they are quite a long distance out of the city.
Thats not to say the centre of Xian has no history on offer, there are lots of famous monuments and a huge muslim community who have turned their streets into an amazing amusement park of street stalls and neon lights. I also liked that.

As you will see the entire area has been beautified, with fresh flowers planted everywhere, floral sculptures, good quality street furniture, I could go on, I wont, instead I will go on in the photos below.

I do however already think I need more days in Xian, I am only here for 3 nights.

The great loop of China - April 2018 - There is no lack of modern shopping malls. As you will see they started out huge and got bigger and more awesomely ancient Chinese in design.

There is no lack of modern shopping malls. As you will see they started out huge and got bigger and more awesomely ancient Chinese in design.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - Here is a random street scene looking back towards the bell tower. Again I probably went the wrong way, but then again there probably is no wrong way

Here is a random street scene looking back towards the bell tower. Again I probably went the wrong way, but then again there probably is no wrong way in Xian, everywhere is nice.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - A store has set up on a staircase leading to another store.

A store has set up on a staircase leading to another store.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - Here is a pedestrian street. Pffft, it may look nice and clean and modern, but this is the crappy pedestrian street, keep going.

Here is a pedestrian street. Pffft, it may look nice and clean and modern, but this is the crappy pedestrian street, keep going.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - I made a brief stop to challenge some guys to a radio controlled car race. Mine went under an electric bus so I just ran off.

I made a brief stop to challenge some guys to a radio controlled car race. Mine went under an electric bus so I just ran off.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - There will not be a lack of modern malls. They are also all joined together by an underground network of tunnels.

There will not be a lack of modern malls. They are also all joined together by an underground network of tunnels.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - The picture doesnt convey this, but this is a book store in a street underpass tunnel. There is nothing else in this tunnel. What the photo doesnt sho

The picture doesnt convey this, but this is a book store in a street underpass tunnel. There is nothing else in this tunnel. What the photo doesnt show is that its a steep downward slope. Its like its meant to be a drainage tunnel, but instead its a book shop, maybe its both.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - The modestly sized local government office. I presume they have more money than they know what to do with.

The modestly sized local government office. I presume they have more money than they know what to do with.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - Miles and miles of flowers and manicured trees.

Miles and miles of flowers and manicured trees.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - I stopped to get my bearings crossing a major road, bell tower again.

I stopped to get my bearings crossing a major road, bell tower again.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - Still more flowers. Lots more were being planted, most stores had giant sculptures made out of flowers.

Still more flowers. Lots more were being planted, most stores had giant sculptures made out of flowers.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - A truly magnificent spectacle. The long building on the right is all restaurants...and a starbucks.

A truly magnificent spectacle. The long building on the right is all restaurants...and a starbucks.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - This is a department store. Along here all the stores are ancient China themed. Some might think thats silly but I like it.

This is a department store. Along here all the stores are ancient China themed. Some might think thats silly but I like it.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - This however is not a department store. It gets dark very late here because its a long way west of Beijing. Later on in the distance I could see this

This however is not a department store. It gets dark very late here because its a long way west of Beijing. Later on in the distance I could see this was brightly lit up, I will provide a photo on another night.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - Now we enter the amazing Muslim street market area.

Now we enter the amazing Muslim street market area.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - It is so good its worth 2 photos.

It is so good its worth 2 photos.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - The main food is sheep, we call it lamb, they prefer to call it mutton, some times they call it baby mutton when they mean lamb. There are lots and lo

The main food is sheep, we call it lamb, they prefer to call it mutton, some times they call it baby mutton when they mean lamb. There are lots and lots of stalls carving entire sheep like this in the street.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - There are also numerous spice shops, mainly chilli, thats fine by me. This one was featured on CCTV. Just like in Japan, if you have been on NHK, the

There are also numerous spice shops, mainly chilli, thats fine by me. This one was featured on CCTV. Just like in Japan, if you have been on NHK, the same applies in China if you have been on CCTV, you should have a sign informing everyone. My number one business plan is fake I have been on CCTV signs. I am sure its already been done.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - Running off the network of main streets are these alleyways with signs saying they lead to the Xian mosque. I could not find the mosque, I was looking

Running off the network of main streets are these alleyways with signs saying they lead to the Xian mosque. I could not find the mosque, I was looking for minarets though, maybe it doesnt have minarets?


The great loop of China - April 2018 - Clearly, Muslim Chinese, or perhaps regular Han Chinese visiting the Muslim Chinese amusement park, enjoy having their feet nibbled by fish.

Clearly, Muslim Chinese, or perhaps regular Han Chinese visiting the Muslim Chinese amusement park, enjoy having their feet nibbled by fish.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - Just another one of the streets a few blocks away from the main chaos. Someone is making drinks with liquid nitrogen here...dangerous!

Just another one of the streets a few blocks away from the main chaos. Someone is making drinks with liquid nitrogen here...dangerous!


The great loop of China - April 2018 - Another large chilli shop, this one has not been on CCTV, however they do have the giant stone grinding wheel in use.

Another large chilli shop, this one has not been on CCTV, however they do have the giant stone grinding wheel in use.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - Most of the streets have a variation of this bright red lantern thing hanging from the trees, I like it.

Most of the streets have a variation of this bright red lantern thing hanging from the trees, I like it.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - Just another gate with cool lighting.

Just another gate with cool lighting.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - This is the entrance to a KTV, going in is probably ok, but I believe people drink to excess in these places. How would you go coming down these steps

This is the entrance to a KTV, going in is probably ok, but I believe people drink to excess in these places. How would you go coming down these steps at 3AM blind drunk? It was flashing bright colors at epileptic speeds.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - That is entirely all shopping mall. I was amazed.

That is entirely all shopping mall. I was amazed.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - Nearby I saw a sign advertising backpacker hostels, and sure enough, bar street.

Nearby I saw a sign advertising backpacker hostels, and sure enough, bar street.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - After all that, I chose dinner poorly, I was in a rush to get back to my hotel as I still have some research to do for tomorrow. I ended up at this Ja

After all that, I chose dinner poorly, I was in a rush to get back to my hotel as I still have some research to do for tomorrow. I ended up at this Japanese place where I ordered Gyu don (beef bowl). Instead I was given pork schnitzel bowl, with a raw egg on top. I didnt really want crumbed deep fried pork, and in China I dont really want any raw egg. It wasnt great! Not to worry, nearby was a supermarket with the fruit salad bar for second dinner.


There are currently 2 comments - click to add

Jenny on 2018-04-23 said:

It all looks fabulous - apart from the butchered lambies. so many shopping malls to explore - I would need a month in each city.


adriana on 2018-04-23 said:

YOur train station sounds very much like the Shin Hakodate station in Hokkaido - also nothing to do and no shops - well only a couple. BTW, meant to say earlier that I like the Chinese architecture of new buildings. They don't just look like generic western skyscrapers.



Day 11 - Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Everybody can get fogged

Today was a very long, very wet day. The steps in my journey went subway - high speed train - free shuttle bus - paid shuttle bus - epic hike in the fog up - epic hike in the even foggier fog down - paid shuttle bus - free shuttle bus - high speed train - subway.
My destination was Huashan, one of Chinas AAAAA tourist destinations, and one of the most beautiful mountains in the world. It is quite high, over 2000 metres, it is very rocky and steep, and it is where you often see photos of people walking along a plank hanging onto a wire. There is more than one mountain in China where you can do the plank walk, but they are not mandatory to climb the mountain, they cost money, you have to line up for an hour, you must wear a harness etc. Today that wasnt even an option, the rain and fog meant it wasnt operating.

I went to Huashan, sometimes referred to as the worlds most dangerous mountain by tour bus companies, to climb the Soldiers route to the top.
When I got off the first bus, it was not raining, there was no fog. When I got off the second bus I could barely see my hand in front of me.
I did buy a poncho but going up I could not put it on because I was overheating. Its supposed to take many hours to the top cable car station up the steep steps, I did it in two hours without stopping. I worked out based on a standard level of a building having 20 stairs, that it was equivalent to walking up 300 floors.

Once you get to the top cable car station, theres nearly as many steps to go again if you want to visit all 4 peaks in the park, so I did just that! At times there were a lot of people, at times there were none, at all times there was fog, this means the photos are crappy!

Despite the weather I had a great time, going down the same way I came up I passed two actual soldiers, they wanted to chat, they seemed impressed that I went up the soldiers path on my own, in the rain and so quickly. Thats enough bragging, onto the crappy pics.

The great loop of China - April 2018 - Here is the entrance to the Huashan mountain park, the entrance fee is enormous, $40 Australian dollars. I felt bad for poor Chinese families who may

Here is the entrance to the Huashan mountain park, the entrance fee is enormous, $40 Australian dollars. I felt bad for poor Chinese families who may have been spending a huge amount of their income today in such poor weather.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - The all important, AAAAA rating. There are not many places in China that get this rating for tourism.

The all important, AAAAA rating. There are not many places in China that get this rating for tourism.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - This is where the 2nd shuttle bus ends its journey. Every single other person then headed straight to the cable car, not me...

This is where the 2nd shuttle bus ends its journey. Every single other person then headed straight to the cable car, not me...


The great loop of China - April 2018 - Locating the start of my path was very easy. In China its all paths, with steps and guide rails, no trails!

Locating the start of my path was very easy. In China its all paths, with steps and guide rails, no trails!


The great loop of China - April 2018 - I took one last look at a non foggy world, rocks jutting up everywhere. Actually it was already very foggy.

I took one last look at a non foggy world, rocks jutting up everywhere. Actually it was already very foggy.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - Starting my ascent, there is the bus station, now we head into the fog and rain.

Starting my ascent, there is the bus station, now we head into the fog and rain.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - Huge rock faces, I think! Reminded me of Taroko gorge in Taiwan.

Huge rock faces, I think! Reminded me of Taroko gorge in Taiwan.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - This valley had a brief clearing in the fog, it would be the last, there are the cable cars overhead! I was enjoying myself, I did not wish I was on t

This valley had a brief clearing in the fog, it would be the last, there are the cable cars overhead! I was enjoying myself, I did not wish I was on the cable cars at all.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - Very eerie ascent.

Very eerie ascent.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - This is a famous spot on the trail, the 80 degree steps. As you can see theres a couple of different options for how steep you want to go. Also note t

This is a famous spot on the trail, the 80 degree steps. As you can see theres a couple of different options for how steep you want to go. Also note the rubbish bins, this park was also absolutely spotless, and there were a few brave old folks assigned to emptying the bins.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - I then climbed this waterfall.

I then climbed this waterfall.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - Despite this being the difficult path, there are still a couple of good quality public toilets built on the edge of a cliff.

Despite this being the difficult path, there are still a couple of good quality public toilets built on the edge of a cliff.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - Another brief break in the fog, and when I say break in the fog, I mean slightly less dense fog.

Another brief break in the fog, and when I say break in the fog, I mean slightly less dense fog.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - The steps went on and on, you can tell by the way those people are coming down how steep they are.

The steps went on and on, you can tell by the way those people are coming down how steep they are.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - And here is the summit of the North peak, so much fog.

And here is the summit of the North peak, so much fog.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - Enjoy the great 'view'. Apparently its one of the greatest views in all of China!

Enjoy the great 'view'. Apparently its one of the greatest views in all of China!


The great loop of China - April 2018 - Time to keep climbing and look at a lot of padlocks. I had my lock picking kit with me so removed about 20 and hurled them off the cliff.

Time to keep climbing and look at a lot of padlocks. I had my lock picking kit with me so removed about 20 and hurled them off the cliff.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - There are of course temples, shrines, restaurants and even hotels! This one is around the central peak area I think. It was hard to know where I was a

There are of course temples, shrines, restaurants and even hotels! This one is around the central peak area I think. It was hard to know where I was at any time.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - Here is a hotel lobby. An old lady sits at the head of the table and issues warnings to all those who dare pass.

Here is a hotel lobby. An old lady sits at the head of the table and issues warnings to all those who dare pass.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - And here is a restaurant, a few people who took the cable car up still walked an hour up the mountain to here in the rain to go to lunch.

And here is a restaurant, a few people who took the cable car up still walked an hour up the mountain to here in the rain to go to lunch.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - Another one of the peaks. You can buy the ribbons and padlocks to attach to the wires.

Another one of the peaks. You can buy the ribbons and padlocks to attach to the wires.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - Obviously a lot of people buy the ribbons, so they have bonus wires to attach them to all over the place.

Obviously a lot of people buy the ribbons, so they have bonus wires to attach them to all over the place.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - I now tried to find another way down, hunting through the fog.

I now tried to find another way down, hunting through the fog.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - It was a really great path.

It was a really great path.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - Very happy with this photo.

Very happy with this photo.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - I made it to the West cable car station (there are 2 cable cars) thinking there would be a path down from here. Not only could I not find the path but

I made it to the West cable car station (there are 2 cable cars) thinking there would be a path down from here. Not only could I not find the path but the cable car was not operating. I think its being upgraded? There is however a Dicos thats open despite there being no cable car, and therefore no people!
A Dicos is Chinese Mcdonalds. Without the cable car operating to get to here people would have to walk about 90 minutes from the other cable car.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - I broke into the construction zone and explored the new tunnel to where I guess the updated cable car will leave from. Thats enough use of the term 'c

I broke into the construction zone and explored the new tunnel to where I guess the updated cable car will leave from. Thats enough use of the term 'cable car' for today.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - Time to descend. Coming up are the two soldiers I had a lengthy chat with. They were envious that I have no children and no pressure to have children.

Time to descend. Coming up are the two soldiers I had a lengthy chat with. They were envious that I have no children and no pressure to have children. They dont want to have children. We all agreed that children are useless, and should be thrown off a cliff.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - Although it was the same path that I took on the way up, it occasionally split for going up and going down direction, I followed the signs that litera

Although it was the same path that I took on the way up, it occasionally split for going up and going down direction, I followed the signs that literally said 'the going up direction'. On the way down this part went out over a sheer drop, I have no way to know how far down because of the fog.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - And finally, I am back at the bus station, soaking wet. My camera was starting to play up, fogging over, not turning on.... It seems ok now but is sti

And finally, I am back at the bus station, soaking wet. My camera was starting to play up, fogging over, not turning on.... It seems ok now but is still fogging up hours later.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - I came down from up there.

I came down from up there.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - As I got back to the park entrance, the mountains seemed to come out of the fog briefly.

As I got back to the park entrance, the mountains seemed to come out of the fog briefly.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - Here, have another. They certainly look like spectacular mountains.

Here, have another. They certainly look like spectacular mountains.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - Last photo, the Huashan north high speed train station. It has a shop! I was able to get a ticket back to Xian departing in only 20 minutes, which was

Last photo, the Huashan north high speed train station. It has a shop! I was able to get a ticket back to Xian departing in only 20 minutes, which was good because I had mild hypothermia by now.


Shining beacons of ancient

This evening I did not really go far and I did a bit of a repeat of last night. Mainly because I was starving and my legs were tired from the soldiers path up Huashan from earlier in the day.
I still think Xian is fantastic, I am just scratching the surface. I am yet to see the terracotta warriors, do a lap of the city wall, or see any of the ancient pagodas. You could spend a week here easily.

Tonight I experienced something I had read about, Chinese restaurants that no longer take cash. The only way to pay was one of their mobile phone payment systems where they scan a barcode on your phone generated by an app after you scan a barcode on the cash register that no longer has cash.
When I did find somewhere I could pay cash, they forgot to bring me my change, so I summoned over the waitress and told here in Chinese that she had forgot to bring my my change, and she understood me exactly and apologised. So that was pretty good.

Later on I went to the giant supermarket and hunted around for a cold drink fridge. They all have lots of fridges with drinks in them, but generally the fridges are turned off, very frustrating. This resulted in a staff member enquiring why I was opening all their fridges and feeling their drinks. I was also able to explain to her that I wanted a cold drink not a hot one, which she understood, and pointed me to their cold drink fridge.

For my final activity this evening I delivered on a promise I made last night, to photograph the bell tower and drum tower under lights, scroll on to see those, they are spectacular.

The great loop of China - April 2018 - My journey this evening started with a visit to what I thought was one big junk store, but is actually numerous little junk stores sharing the same bu

My journey this evening started with a visit to what I thought was one big junk store, but is actually numerous little junk stores sharing the same building. Very interesting, they were closing quite early but I feel as though you could buy anything from here, and most of it would one day short circuit and burn your house down.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - Chinese Stationery shop. Lots of pens that work for about 5 minutes. Actually, I remember reading recently that one of the things China has never been

Chinese Stationery shop. Lots of pens that work for about 5 minutes. Actually, I remember reading recently that one of the things China has never been able to make are the balls in the end of ballpoint pens, they are all imported from Japan or Germany.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - This is the alleyway between the drum tower and bell tower, very busy, quite a few beggars trying to scam tourists.

This is the alleyway between the drum tower and bell tower, very busy, quite a few beggars trying to scam tourists.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - The drum tower looms large in the distance, or is it the bell tower? Who knows which is which.

The drum tower looms large in the distance, or is it the bell tower? Who knows which is which.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - This store is only selling bread sticks of various flavours.

This store is only selling bread sticks of various flavours.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - Where as this shop is huge and only sells pre packaged spices.

Where as this shop is huge and only sells pre packaged spices.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - Here we have some guys with hammers pounding nuts which are then made into a slice a bit like a dryer version of baklava. There are lots of varieties.

Here we have some guys with hammers pounding nuts which are then made into a slice a bit like a dryer version of baklava. There are lots of varieties. The hammers are all for show of course. Their power bill must be huge because the lights are terrifyingly bright orange, messing with my cameras exposure compensation.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - I wanted to go to the train restaurant, but they dont take cash!

I wanted to go to the train restaurant, but they dont take cash!


The great loop of China - April 2018 - Instead I found a very delicious place in basement level 2, claiming to serve a local specialty. It had lots of vegetables, many of them pickled, aged

Instead I found a very delicious place in basement level 2, claiming to serve a local specialty. It had lots of vegetables, many of them pickled, aged smoked meat of some kind, little nut things and rice noodles. It was very nice and something I have not had before.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - Now for the night photos of the buildings under lights. This is the bell tower thats in the middle of a big roundabout.

Now for the night photos of the buildings under lights. This is the bell tower thats in the middle of a big roundabout.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - This is a huge plant pot full of plastic plants.

This is a huge plant pot full of plastic plants.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - Here we have some trees lit up with blue lights, whats that to the right?

Here we have some trees lit up with blue lights, whats that to the right?


The great loop of China - April 2018 - It is the magnificent drum tower. The bell and drum towers are quite close to each other, I cant see a bell or a drum on either of them.

It is the magnificent drum tower. The bell and drum towers are quite close to each other, I cant see a bell or a drum on either of them.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - Last photo for tonight, dried milk things. You may have heard about the powdered milk drama, and how Australia foolishly wants to ban it being exporte

Last photo for tonight, dried milk things. You may have heard about the powdered milk drama, and how Australia foolishly wants to ban it being exported for some stupid reason. In China they are so desperate for milk they are now turning it into compressed blocks of dried milk. There are lots of brands and shapes to choose from.


There are currently 2 comments - click to add

bobule on 2018-04-25 said:

great photos, I love the foggy bridge


mother on 2018-04-24 said:

you need to switch your camera on and take the batteries out so it stays open and leave it like that to dry out overnight.

The fog photos look spectacular even though you can't see how high up and how big the drop is - maybe just as well. Needless to say, I would be taking the cable car.



Day 12 - Wednesday, 24 April 2018

Pottery barn

In about 1970, the forgotten former ancient capital of China, Xian, decided that they had nothing much to offer. Smart thinking central party members hatched an ingenious plan. First schools started teaching history about previously unheard of Emperor QinShiHuang and his amazing feats of strength, easily more impressive than anything from the Shaolin guys. Meanwhile, outside of town, in a previously unused field, the secret underground work commenced.
By 1973 they were ready, but unfortunately, no one found the secret prize, this put the order for 900 tour buses placed by the relatives of city officials at risk.
To ensure no further delay in the Xian Renaissance, an old lady was paid to convince farmers that there was oil to be found in the field, they only needed to dig a hole a few feet deep with an ox and shovel to find it, she died soon after of acute disappointment.
To honor the legend of the dead old lady, a local farmer dragged his ox over to the nearby field and dug a hole, planning to charge people to see his oil well which he intended to fill with stolen tar. After digging for no more than an hour, he broke through into a cavern and discovered the amazing terracotta army.

And so, Xian was reborn!

The great loop of China - April 2018 - On my walk to the bus to the terracotta warriors, I went ouside the northern gate of the city wall. I hope to show some more of the city wall and the

On my walk to the bus to the terracotta warriors, I went ouside the northern gate of the city wall. I hope to show some more of the city wall and the view from it later tonight.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - China loves their toilets so much, there are now shops set up inside of them. Really this is the hand basin washing area of a huge toilet block.

China loves their toilets so much, there are now shops set up inside of them. Really this is the hand basin washing area of a huge toilet block.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - Here is the city wall outside of the main slow train station. It was very nice of the ancient engineers to leave such a nice space under it for people

Here is the city wall outside of the main slow train station. It was very nice of the ancient engineers to leave such a nice space under it for people traveling to the train station hundreds of years later.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - In my continuing series of Chinese train stations, here is the Xian main station, which serves only old slow trains. Most of them heading out to the f

In my continuing series of Chinese train stations, here is the Xian main station, which serves only old slow trains. Most of them heading out to the forbidden wastelands of Xinjiang.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - This is where you get off the bus at the terracotta warriors museum parking lot. I read all kinds of stories about how the only realistic way to get h

This is where you get off the bus at the terracotta warriors museum parking lot. I read all kinds of stories about how the only realistic way to get here is a private expensive tour. Nonsense. The bus was very easy to find, cost $1.50 for the one hour ride, no wait, everyone gets a seat, and no one even bothered me to take the fake shopping tour bus. I think a lot of people come to Xian for the day and go straight from the airport to the terracotta warriors and back to the airport. Those people are missing out!


The great loop of China - April 2018 - Here is the entrance. Similar story here. I read everywhere about 4 hour lines, tickets sold out, pushing, fighting, crying. There was none of that. T

Here is the entrance. Similar story here. I read everywhere about 4 hour lines, tickets sold out, pushing, fighting, crying. There was none of that. The line to buy tickets had ZERO people, the line to get in through security was also zero people. It was a smoother experience than going to the movies in Australia, because no one demanded I hand over my drink.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - This group of air hostesses was very happy to be here.

This group of air hostesses was very happy to be here.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - I spotted the Australians! Really, they were Australian, GO GO TEAM WADDLE! You might think I am being rude, but this lady was offered a wheelchair by

I spotted the Australians! Really, they were Australian, GO GO TEAM WADDLE! You might think I am being rude, but this lady was offered a wheelchair by the staff for the 200 metre walk to the excavation pit. She was highly offended, I was highly amused.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - The grounds were very nice, and like all AAAAA Chinese tourist attraction zones, spotless. I was also surprised at the cafe, I was able to buy a delic

The grounds were very nice, and like all AAAAA Chinese tourist attraction zones, spotless. I was also surprised at the cafe, I was able to buy a delicious walnut muffin and big bottle of coke zero for about $3 AUD.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - And here they are. Everyone has seen the photo before. The shed over the top is also impressive. I believe the roof of the tomb was originally just ab

And here they are. Everyone has seen the photo before. The shed over the top is also impressive.
I believe the roof of the tomb was originally just above the heads of the warriors, it wasnt a huge open cavern like this.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - It was really not crowded at all, I could get a spot on the fence immediately. Very surprising given all the stories I had read. Some people who came

It was really not crowded at all, I could get a spot on the fence immediately. Very surprising given all the stories I had read. Some people who came all the way from the other side of the world just to visit this hole in the ground said it was a terrible experience and they wished they had never come because when they finally got here they couldnt see anything.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - Here is a horse. Apparently there were also wooden chariots but they all rotted.

Here is a horse. Apparently there were also wooden chariots but they all rotted.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - I think there is still a lot of excavation and restoration going on. This is still the main pit, there are 3 pits to visit, but its really only the bi

I think there is still a lot of excavation and restoration going on. This is still the main pit, there are 3 pits to visit, but its really only the big pit number 1 that has a lot of warriors.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - Some of them are covered in glad wrap. Many of them are put back together from pieces of broken pottery.

Some of them are covered in glad wrap. Many of them are put back together from pieces of broken pottery.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - None of these are in their original positions.

None of these are in their original positions.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - A couple more photos of the main pit...

A couple more photos of the main pit...


The great loop of China - April 2018 - Last one! I hope you got to see enough of one of the most photographed tourist attractions in the world.

Last one! I hope you got to see enough of one of the most photographed tourist attractions in the world.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - On my way to the cafe I went through this high end gift shop. Westerners were actually buying stuff. A guy bought a little jade statue for $1800 AUD.

On my way to the cafe I went through this high end gift shop. Westerners were actually buying stuff. A guy bought a little jade statue for $1800 AUD.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - This is Pit 3. I did the pits out of order. The smallest of the pits. Somehow it looks new.

This is Pit 3. I did the pits out of order. The smallest of the pits. Somehow it looks new.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - I am pretty sure these were placed in here.

I am pretty sure these were placed in here.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - If you pay enough money you can have your photo taken with a mummified warrior.

If you pay enough money you can have your photo taken with a mummified warrior.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - Here is a particularly well restored warrior. Notice he still has his thumb! Recently in the USA a man took a selfie with one of them that was there v

Here is a particularly well restored warrior. Notice he still has his thumb! Recently in the USA a man took a selfie with one of them that was there visiting, then stole his thumb! What is he planning to do with a clay thumb?


The great loop of China - April 2018 - Now we head into pit number 2, where theres not a lot to see at all. It is quite large.

Now we head into pit number 2, where theres not a lot to see at all. It is quite large.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - They built a boat ramp down to it.

They built a boat ramp down to it.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - A bit more of the surrounding grounds and the amazing small mountains in the background. I did some research, no accessible path up, but there is a ca

A bit more of the surrounding grounds and the amazing small mountains in the background. I did some research, no accessible path up, but there is a cable car to a restaurant where you can hike around at the top. Whats the point if you cant climb?


The great loop of China - April 2018 - Time to exit via a series of shopping malls. Despite further warnings of chaos, no one tried to sell me anything.

Time to exit via a series of shopping malls. Despite further warnings of chaos, no one tried to sell me anything.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - The local fashions are very awesome. Coconut chic.

The local fashions are very awesome. Coconut chic.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - The last store before the car park / bus boarding location was selling dead cats. I bought 3!

The last store before the car park / bus boarding location was selling dead cats. I bought 3!


The great loop of China - April 2018 - After getting back to the city I walked back to my hotel a different way. There is no shortage of malls!

After getting back to the city I walked back to my hotel a different way. There is no shortage of malls!


The other great wall

It certainly was a big day for doing the tourist things. This evening I walked a full lap of the city wall. I guess not too many tourists actually walk the full lap as it is 13km. Truth be told I ran / walk / photographed. I didnt want to be too fast as I wanted light / dusk / dark, I got that.
You may remember that Mark Zuckerberg ran a lap of the wall when he was here visiting his wife before he was extradited back to the USA for treason recently.

I found the wall to be spectacular, it is really amazing to think that something so huge could be built, not only that, there used to be a lot of them, and this is the only one left anywhere! Time for some mathematics. I figure it to be 5 floors high, so 5 x 3m = 15 metres high. It is probably 20 metres wide. It is 13,000 metres around. There are a few holes in it for cars now but other than that its basically solid! There are also lots of towers and other defences, so lets go with 60% total density...stay with me.

15 x 20 x 13,000 x 0.6 = 2,340,000 m3

Now the bricks are quite small, at most they are 40 cm x 15cm x 10cm, 0.4 x 0.15 x 0.1 = 0.006m3.

Finally then, 2,340,000 / 0.006 = 390,000,000 bricks. Thats 390 million bricks! We are going to need a lot of mortar.
Dont bother googling and telling me the bricks are just a thin layer over the dirt core, I want to keep on believing its solid brick.

The great loop of China - April 2018 - The whole wall is also surrounded by a moat, the area between the moat and the wall is a huge park. I peered over the edge numerous times and saw danc

The whole wall is also surrounded by a moat, the area between the moat and the wall is a huge park. I peered over the edge numerous times and saw dancing, ping pong, badmington, painting in the park, running, opera etc. I yelled insults at them all knowing I was safe on my fortified wall.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - This is the southern gate where you get on the wall. You can get on and off at a lot of places, but apparently this is the biggest gate. They frequent

This is the southern gate where you get on the wall. You can get on and off at a lot of places, but apparently this is the biggest gate. They frequently have performances here and in front of it. I found out later there was some kind of advertising event at the northern gate, and by the time I got back to the southern gate that was closed off also for an outdoor concert.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - I have no idea what this is, befouling my wall. Get this crap off here!

I have no idea what this is, befouling my wall. Get this crap off here!


The great loop of China - April 2018 - Time to head off into the sunset, target number 1, those 3 buildings on the horizon.

Time to head off into the sunset, target number 1, those 3 buildings on the horizon.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - I made it to the south eastern corner, here is the view back from where I had come.

I made it to the south eastern corner, here is the view back from where I had come.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - Everywhere you look in Xian, its nice!

Everywhere you look in Xian, its nice!


The great loop of China - April 2018 - Time to get cracking on the next part of the epic journey. There are of course public toilets every few hundred metres, and also a few little cafes.

Time to get cracking on the next part of the epic journey. There are of course public toilets every few hundred metres, and also a few little cafes.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - Here is the western gate. You will soon realise the gates are similar.

Here is the western gate. You will soon realise the gates are similar.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - Each gate has 2 structures and a big hole in the middle. Even when this was built in 1300 they enjoyed outdoor shows.

Each gate has 2 structures and a big hole in the middle. Even when this was built in 1300 they enjoyed outdoor shows.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - I now ran for a while, sunset was approaching.

I now ran for a while, sunset was approaching.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - Heres a main road outside the city walls, heading west. This is not where the main big buildings are, those far to the south of the old city were a lo

Heres a main road outside the city walls, heading west. This is not where the main big buildings are, those far to the south of the old city were a lot bigger. Xian is huge.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - I arrived at the golden palace, looked over, saw 3 Lamborghinis go past. Chinese people much prefer a Lambo to any other kind of fancy car. I think th

I arrived at the golden palace, looked over, saw 3 Lamborghinis go past. Chinese people much prefer a Lambo to any other kind of fancy car. I think the owners lived in the golden temple area.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - The wall going off into the horizon and beyond.

The wall going off into the horizon and beyond.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - Very clear here after the rain, which stopped at about lunch time. I was surprised more people were not on the wall enjoying the sunset. I know I was.

Very clear here after the rain, which stopped at about lunch time. I was surprised more people were not on the wall enjoying the sunset. I know I was.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - Cool sign!

Cool sign!


The great loop of China - April 2018 - Here is a street heading through the old city, taken from near the north gate, looking south. How is everyones geography going? And when I say everyon

Here is a street heading through the old city, taken from near the north gate, looking south. How is everyones geography going? And when I say everyone, I mean my one reader, my mother?


The great loop of China - April 2018 - This is the north gate. I think a launch of a make up brand was happening. You can rent out any of the gates for any purpose. I plan to shoot my next

This is the north gate. I think a launch of a make up brand was happening. You can rent out any of the gates for any purpose. I plan to shoot my next youtube unboxing video here.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - Here we have a long exposure looking south from the old train station. Buses do a U turn here, hence the cool light trails.

Here we have a long exposure looking south from the old train station. Buses do a U turn here, hence the cool light trails.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - I was here at the old station earlier to catch the bus to the terracotta warriors, only then I was at ground level. Now I am at wall level. I am happy

I was here at the old station earlier to catch the bus to the terracotta warriors, only then I was at ground level. Now I am at wall level. I am happy to provide photos at multiple elevations for your viewing pleasure.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - The red lights surround the entire wall. It is actually very dark, you have to watch out for the occasional cyclist. If I lived here I would run laps

The red lights surround the entire wall. It is actually very dark, you have to watch out for the occasional cyclist. If I lived here I would run laps up here often, it is very quiet if you take a couple of steps back from the edge. There is also a building in the distance shooting lasers into the sky.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - Looking East outside the wall, there are malls outside the wall as well. No shortage of malls in Xian!

Looking East outside the wall, there are malls outside the wall as well. No shortage of malls in Xian!


The great loop of China - April 2018 - As you can see, they light up all the towers, but not too brightly, just bright enough to let the invading forces know where to aim.

As you can see, they light up all the towers, but not too brightly, just bright enough to let the invading forces know where to aim.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - Except they did light this one up very brightly, and its pretty awesome. It was near here I got thrown off the wall just before returning to the South

Except they did light this one up very brightly, and its pretty awesome. It was near here I got thrown off the wall just before returning to the South gate where I started, where there was now a concert in progress on the wall.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - I descended and beat everyone at beer pong. Street beer pong no less.

I descended and beat everyone at beer pong. Street beer pong no less.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - Now this is what I call a telescope. The guy set up on the bridge in Melbourne needs to up his game.

Now this is what I call a telescope. The guy set up on the bridge in Melbourne needs to up his game.


The great loop of China - April 2018 - It was very late by the time I got off the wall, dinner choices were limited, I ended up in a fast food joint, only it was noodles and dumplings fast

It was very late by the time I got off the wall, dinner choices were limited, I ended up in a fast food joint, only it was noodles and dumplings fast food. It looks very clean, but the price for a huge bowl of soup and 6 huge steamed buns was alarmingly low, $3. Id prefer it if it were double the price!


The great loop of China - April 2018 - The soup was indeed pretty average. Everything in it was overcooked. Probably better than undercooked or cold. I did not eat most of it, it was way to

The soup was indeed pretty average. Everything in it was overcooked. Probably better than undercooked or cold. I did not eat most of it, it was way too much food for $3.


Tomorrow I head to Chongqing. I have been there before. Due to availability, my train does not depart until after 2pm, and it takes 5 hours. So I still have time to do some more exploring of Xian tomorrow before I leave. Maybe I will update this while sitting on the train to pass the time, who knows, stranger things have happened.

There are currently 4 comments - click to add

bobule on 2018-04-25 said:

excellent photos again, what an amazing place.


mother on 2018-04-25 said:

definitely looks like a place worth more than a couple of days. maybe next time. I'm surprised there are so many malls. I thought the Chinese did all their shopping online these days. Glad they are realizing the importance of their historical buildings for tourism now and not just demolishing everything like they used to.


Brian on 2018-04-25 said:

Looks amazing David. Think we need to add this to our travel plans.


mother on 2018-04-25 said:

Warriors look very impressive. Was it as impressive as it looks? They look like they are standing at attention facing something. I wonder if there is anything in front of them that needs digging out.

I see you are still getting rain.



Now there is a page 5, where I will be making the long journey south to Chongqing.

Contents

Day 1 - Saturday, 14 April 2018
  The long winded getaway
  Projectile vomit boy
Day 2 - Sunday, 15 April 2018
  Pollen count
  Walking too far eating too much
Day 3 - Monday, 16 April 2018
  A really long journey to a really big wall
  The Mongolian spicy cold noodle denial
Day 4 - Tuesday, 17 April 2018
  The west lake of the northern capital
  Gentrification
Day 5 - Wednesday, 18 April 2018
  The bee filled mountain of many amenities
  An uncomplicated exchange
Day 6 - Thursday, 19 April 2018
  The bus debacle illegal taxi comedy show
  Fun running race but I cant join in
Day 7 - Friday, 20 April 2018
  From the old to the new old
  The most China of places I have ever been
Day 8 - Saturday, 21 April 2018
  Everybody was kung fu fighting the rain
  The new old is new again
Day 9 - Sunday, 22 April 2018
  Windwalker
  Named in my honor
Day 10 - Monday, 23 April 2018
  How to make a short train ride really long
  The grandest scale
Day 11 - Tuesday, 24 April 2018
  Everybody can get fogged
  Shining beacons of ancient
Day 12 - Wednesday, 24 April 2018
  Pottery barn
  The other great wall
Day 13 - Thursday, 26 April 2018
  Around the bottom of the wall
  The first of the three long journeys
Day 14 - Friday, 27 April 2018
  The mountain city
  I have succumbed
Day 15 - Saturday, 28 April 2018
  Massive Renewal
  I am very good at dancing
Day 16 - Sunday, 29 April 2018
  Sick polluted and awesome
  The crush for the view
Day 17 - Monday, 30 April 2018
  Tales from a moving train
  Monday night madness
Day 18 - Tuesday, 1 May 2018
  Not the west lake
  Wanda world
Day 19 - Wednesday, 2 May 2018
  Revolutionary tower poetry
  The not so shiny and the not so new
Day 20 - Thursday, 3 May 2018
  The long view of the amazing blue
  And now for the view
Day 21 - Friday, 4 May 2018
  Lap completed
  The old hole
Day 22 - Saturday, 5 May 2018
  Complete waste of a day
  Resurrection of the day
Day 23 - Sunday, 6 May 2018
  Last day of boring train photos
  Fully bunded area
Day 24 - Monday, 7 May 2018
  The subway to the ancient water town
  The main drag
Day 25 - Tuesday, 8 May 2018
  Botanists delight
  The old side from the new side became more of the new side
Day 26 - Wednesday, 9 May 2018
  Every single park and garden
  I found another park
Day 27 - Thursday, 10 May 2018
  The maglev update
  The end