Xian is a vibrant city. The tourist here is mind boggling in numbers. Local Chinese from other part of China swarming around you, everywhere you go. This is my experience in Aug 2018.
I learnt the hard way that high speed rail ticket can be sold out days in advance. TIPS. buy all your high speed rail tickets on the day you arrive.
I managed to get the 630 pm ticket instead of the 630am one from Pingyao to Xian and reached this city at around 10pm. A 12 hours delay to my plan.
The next day, I visited the terracotta armies of emperor Qin.
Extremely crowded. Not my favorite situation.
It turned out that the highlight of the trip is the ‘getting there’.
There can be fake taxi here! In another word, I boarded a scammer taxi! The car was fitted and painted to look exactly like a cab, but I started to have my doubt when there isn’t any display of taxi license in the cab. Then we notice the taxi meter seemed to move more aggressively. Too late, already on the highway.
There are public bus that brings you to the terracotta armies museum, but the queue is crazily long at the bus station. Queuing to board the bus under the hot summer sun is not the best way to start off a day. Trust me.
Just when I was going to blame myself for being careless, I became grateful instead.
There is a long queue on the highway near to the attraction too! My ‘cab’ jumped the queue at the toll gate by driving on reserved lane. Beating at least 2 to 3 km of traffic.
Local tourist driving to the attraction caused a jam at the toll gate that is situated on state highway.
After turning out of the state highway, we entered the county road. Which is a single lane thru and fro road leading to the terracotta armies.
That road is also jammed because there isn’t enough parking place at the museum.
Consequently, the many cars are queuing for the next available parking lot. That caused a traffic jam of at least 3 km to the attractions!
All this is happening at 10 am in the morning! That means the place is already swarmed at its opening time.
My “cab” driver simply jumped the queue by driving against the traffic using the road for the opposite direction!
Since everyone is getting in, the return road has less vehicle.
Hair raising experience, but I am glad he did that!
Then I notice some bolder family cars following our lead! Also the real registered taxi were dutifully queuing in the traffic jam.
I managed to beat the 1st bus even though I started the journey late.
Although I paid double for the cab fare, the money was well spent because it helped me save time.
The jostling and crowd was too unpleasant for me. So I spent only 1 hour at the terracotta armies museum.
After returning to the Xian city, I decided to visit the giant wild goose pagoda.
This pagoda was build during the tang dynasty to house the precious scriptures from India.
A great monk XuanZhang went to India to bring back scriptures. Subsequently, he translated them into Chinese. Those scriptures then found its way to Japan and Korea. A very famous scripture that was translated is the heart sutra.
At night, the avenue leading to the pagoda becomes a giant light show with music fountain.
Stores and restaurants along the avenue made this a good place for dinning.
For dinner, I had a Muslim dish. It consist of bread being cooked with lamp stew.
To eat this, you need to break the bread into tiny bits. Once you are done, the waitress will collect the bowl of bread bits and send it to the kitchen.
It returns to your table in form of a stew
The ancient temple and it’s famous pagoda had survived the ages. One notable aspect of Buddhism is the ability to adapt to the society.
Today, the once serious bureau of scriptures translation had become a tourist magnate.
Devout Buddhist rub shoulder with camera clicking tourist.
When night fall, the temple closes its gate and the monks retreat to their meditation. Outside the temple, laser light and music rock the sky. Party is on.
That is how Buddhism is. Just a part of human living, patiently encouraging people towards right living. But never judging or condemning others.