Tuesday 13 November 2012 - Xian
1c - 14c, Sunny
So after spending the night on the train we have arrived to a lovely sunny day in Xian. Xian is generally warmer than Beijing. Our tour guide, Vivienne met us on the platform and walked us to a nearby hotel for a buffet breakfast. After we finished we hopped on a 12 seater bus and drove to the hotel where l'm writing this from. We've had a nice shower and will be heading to the lobby at 12 noon to meet with Vivienne who will then take us to have a look at the city wall, lunch and museum. The city wall was really good and once on top you could either walk all the way around, catch a bus or hire a bike. We walked around a little bit and took in the views which were spetacular. My camera battery went flat and l'd forgotten to recharge the spare and Mum hadn't brought here recharger so her camera was useless and Deb didn't bring a camera so we missed out on some lovely shots of the old area which lies inside the wall. The buildings are all built the same and have some very interesting architecture. Lunch was a hot pot which is very similar to fondue, very messy but lots of fun and the museum was ho hum. I couldn't hear what the guide was saying and was starting to get really tired so l sat in a lounge for about half an hour then wandered into the gift shop to have a cup of green tea and a look around while l waited for the rest of the group. We then went on to the Big Goose Pagoda. As the symbol of the old-line Xian, Big Wild Goose Pagoda (Dayan Pagoda) is a well-preserved ancient building and a holy place for Buddhists. Originally built in 652 during the reign of Emperor Gaozong of the Tang Dynasty (618-907), it functioned to collect Buddhist materials that were taken from India by the hierarch Xuanzang. We could only look on the outside as visitors are not allowed in. The guide asked how much time we needed to have a look around and the general consensus was 10 minutes as we were all so tired. A couple of us went to a 5 star hotel to use their toilets. This has become a big thing amongst the ladies of the tour group and we have started rating them. 5 stars plus means it has western toilets, toilet paper, toilet seat covers, paper towels, toilet doors that lock and they are clean. The rating goes down depending what on what they have or don't have. I've flatly refused to use a squat. If l did that then l'd never get up again! Okay, enough about the toilets, dinner was next on the agenda. Tonight it's dumplings which was really, really yummy. The flavours are very different to Beijing and we've all agreed that the food is better here than Beijing. I've been drinking beer at dinner (and lunches) for two reasons, 1/ it comes free with the meal and ummm….there is no other reason. The beer here for me is not too bad as it doesn't have as strong a flavour as Australian beer so l can suck it up (hehehe…get it) and enjoy. Back to the hotel and Mum and l agreed to meet Betty downstairs for a nightcap. We're all b*****ed so it's an early night.