National Day in Xi’an

I didn’t want to be in China without visiting the Terracotta warriors, so I decided to spend the beginning of my week off in Xi’an. Don’t worry, I knew what to expect with all the traffic, I just decided to experience the traffic outside of Beijing. Here are the details of my trip to Xi’an!

We left Saturday Sept. 30 at night. It felt like a Friday because we actually had school that day. Apparently it is very common in China to do that: Have school on a Saturday when you are about to have a big break. I was traveling with a tour group for mainly students, but everyone is welcome to hop on. We left on time, and it was only supposed to be about a 12 hour drive, you know without the traffic. It ended up being about 20 hours. In all seriousness, it is what I expected, so I was keeping a good attitude the whole way. There is also a law in China that says if you are driving over night you are required to make a 3 hour stop at a rest area, so there went 3 hours. Luckily I slept for most of it.

We got to the Terracotta Warriors much later then expected, and only with an hour before the sight closed, so we basically did a run around the grounds with quick peeks at the different sights before we had to leave. We saw the unearthed warriors, a museum, and of course, the souvenir shops. But, of course, even though my little group got back to the bus later than we were supposed to, we weren’t the last ones, so we had to wait a bit.

After leaving the historic sight, we went to the park that has the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, but because it was too late we could not go up to the pagoda. We were supposed to see some of the water show, but it was kind of difficult to enjoy because of how crowded it was; I ended up seeing most of it through the phone of someone else. I couldn’t get very good pictures.

After this, we went to our hotel, got settled, and quickly rushed back onto the bus to see the Muslim street, a type of street market with strange foods and a lot of souvenirs. Around it t

It was great, but the catch with going to this place was that we would have to find our own way home, so my friends and I walked back, but it wasn’t that bad, we had really great conversations.

The next day we got up bright and early to hike Mount Hua Shan(华山), labeled the most dangerous hike in the world. Having lived most of my life in Arizona, I am truly a big fan of hiking, so I was stoked for this. However, because of the rainy weather and the amount of people, it did not got as planned. Nonetheless , it was the most memorable part of the trip. 2096.2 meters

It took us about 4 and a half hours to hike up to the shortest peak, the east peak, which has an elevation of 2096.2 meters. It was a tough climb. It started with a not so steep incline, but then it went on to endless stairs. Like literally, most of the hike was just going up stairs. Though the weather made it much more dangerous, the foggy views were unbeatable. There was even a temple on the hike up.

The views from the top were amazing.

Like I mentioned, it was national week/Mid Autumn Festival week in China, so there were so many people. We had the option of hiking up or taking a cable car up, so there was also an option to take a cable car down. However, the wait for that was three hours. There was a mass of people waiting to get in the cue. The estimated time to hike down was also three hours, but remember it was rainy and slippery, and it’s one of the most dangerous hikes in the world. It was definitely a risk, but they were suggesting that younger people hike down, and I personally hate the idea of standing around and waiting for hours, so I decided to hike down. I was not alone though, I hiked down with the leader of the trip I was on, so it was a couple hours of risking my life with great conversation.

We got back to the hotel before the people who took the cable car.

The next day we woke up bright and early to drive back to Beijing. The ride back was shorter, thank God, but, we didn’t get back in time to take the subway home, so we had to take a taxi back to school.

LAST THOUGHTS

I do not regret this trip for nothing. I had a week off, and an opportunity to see some of the most important sights in China. I wish I could have not been in such a rush, and that I would have spent more time seeing things instead of sitting on a bus, but I like this because I just had to follow in this case, and I didn’t really have to make the plans myself. I met so many people on this trip that I have met up with after, and that I still speak to.

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