When we think of wild wild west we usually think of cowboys and horses and standoffs, but in Asia the wild wild west is a land full of minority tribes, wild pandas, white hairy yaks, gorges and abundantly rich soil. Just a few months ago, I decide to take a solo adventure to different parts of China. I asked some local coworkers where the “must see” places were and they mentioned Dalian, Xian, Sichuan and Yunnan. I decided to go in November so it was starting to get chilly and the weather brought me west to venture into the wild wild west! The first place I flew into was Xian. This small little city was surround by a stone wall, a little bit like the great wall of China which you can only imagine seeing in the movies. It seemed like a city of kings and riches who had their palace and city protected by the great wall. It was a place full of history and is one of the oldest cities in China, over 3000 years old. I stayed there for 3 days and stayed at a little 3 star gem hotel called Lemon Hotel which was conveniently placed right in the middle of town. It was about 15-20 minutes walking distance from the popular food street downtown and the bell and drum tower and was easy access for taxis to pick you up to further places like the terra cotta soldiers. I woke up early around 9 the next day and went on a tour around Xian(arranged by the hotel, 500rmb from 9am-6pm for full day private driver). The next morning, I went to see the well known terracotta soldiers which was about an hour and a half ride from the city and upon arrival there were numerous local tour guides who were available to give tours. My driver helped me find someone who knew some english and we went our our merry way! Just being there was amazing and I could imagine myself being there when they buried these delicate regal soldiers. They created and buried these soldiers for the Qin Emperor in 210 BC when he died to protect him in the afterlife. There were 3 giant pits with over 8,000 soldiers, 130 chariots with 520 horses and 150 cavalry horses. I spent about 2-3 hours gazing and admiring at these historical figures that were buried and when I went into the museum afterwards I was lucky to be able to meet the guy who found the soldiers! He was an old man selling one of the books he wrote on the discovery and was signing away. Amazing enough, this story is of a poor farmer who was in his 50’s when he found the terracotta soldiers while digging in the well some 40 years ago. And now, he has become a rich old farmer who writes books and meets his fans. I guess miracles do happen:) Afterwards, we drove back to the city and bought these delicious red/orange persimmons on our way back from the side of the road. From what I remember, they were only a few dollars for a whole box of juicy fresh grown persimmons and boy were they good! When we went back, I dozed off a bit in the cab and my top notch driver dropped me back to the hotel for a little R&R. A few hours later, he came back and took me on a walking tour downtown to see the rest of the sights. We went to the bell and drum tower which was beautifully lit up from the night lights and then went to splurge in the food market street with delicious small eats all around. In a lit up street with friendly smiling faces, muslim po(nan in soup) and flavorful coconut desserts, I felt like I was a little kid in candy store! I even got to meet some other people from Beijing at the muslim soup place which became my touring friends for the next few days! We went to see the Giant pagoda and relaxed at some local bar which was playing chinese guitar music. This was by far, my favorite city to visit, I had even considered living there for about 2 secs:) Loved it!
Please read on and continue with me through my journey further west! Enjoy:)