China 10/9 2014 Xi’an
Xi’an was the end of the Silk Road, it was known for the kidnapping of Chiang Kai-shek and. Was also home to a Jewish community. It has had a long and varied history.
Many of the cites in ancient China were walled to protect from invaders. As cities have grown they have ripped down the walls. Some cities retained the gates and some preserved large sections.Xi’an preserved their nine mile wall in the city center. We walked along the wall, on one side we could see farmers market and the other a park with a morning Ti’chi class.
The jade factory was the next stop. Every trip has several ” buying opportunities” with lessons about the product. Earlier in the week it was a pearl “factory”. The jade was considerably more enticing than the pearls. We saw several qualities of jade. Jade is softer and used for carvings, jadeite is harder and used for jewellery. We saw raw jade in several colors. The finished jade ranged through several shades of green, lavender, brown and a white. SUCH A DEAL they had for us, hardly anyone left empty handed.
The Small White Goose Pagoda is part of the Jianfu Si monastery complex. The monastery is in ruins. The pagoda was built to store the sutras (scriptures). Beyond the historical value the beauty of the gardens is breathtaking. We walked,observed the people enjoying the park and exercising. We found a wood carver making Buddhas and other character s out of cedar. We also spent some time learning a little Ti’chi.
After another fantastic meal we drove to the site of the Terracotta Army. The army was built to guard the tomb of Qin Shi Huangdi, the emperor who unified China 2,200 years ago. Each of the 7000 life size warriors that have been unearthed has a unique face. The pits are less then a mile from the tomb which has not been excavated. In 1974 when several farmers were trying to dig a well they uncovered several pieces of pottery. They tossed the pieces aside, luckily one neighbour took them to city and shared them with an archeologists who helped start the excavation. The government is being very cautious about the digging, it is only being explored by Chinese Historians. They learned the lessons of other counties who have had their treasure taken to the museums of other countries.
As if the day wasn’t full enough we had a special dinner at a musical production telling the story of the Tang Dynasty.
China 10/10/ 2014
5:15 am the luggage was in the hallway ready for pick up. We took a plane to Hang Zhou.
After we landed and unpacked we had a cultural connection, a Chinese foot massage. Eileen and I were placed in a room with a woman who has talked non stop since we landed in China. I mustered all my tact and suggested that we make this a Zen experience and not talk. She was stunned into silence for an hour. Out feet were placed in a tub of very hot water to soak while our shoulders were massaged. After soaking our feet were twisted, manipulated, rubbed and we melted into a state of complete relaxation. This was unlike anything I have ever experienced in the states.
Next, an early dinner and an early bedtime to prepare for another very full day.