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A Warm Welcome N To The City Bell Tower

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya BUGGER! Woken by a group of your standard selfish 'it's all about me' Chinese men! They decided that as they were awake then everyone else should be bloody well awake! They also made the mistake of sitting at the end of my bed and the bed opposite which not only pissed me off but also the guy in the other bed. They talked (more like yelling into a mega phone) snorted and spat while everyone else around them began tossing and turning and quietly complaining to each other. One guy even had the nerve to begin pushing my legs back towards the wall to give him self more room to sit and spit. That was it for me! I sat up pulled my let back and I kicked him off the bed! I then sat up and told them all to 'Fark Off' and to be quiet and let everyone sleep. I'm sure if I was Chinese I wouldn't have done such a thing or if I had of they probably would have beat me but the fact is I'm not Chinese and once they realised that they shut the up very quickly. By now it was too late to sleep but thankfully I heard the soft sounds of sleep return to those around me, so all was not lost. 'They' remained quiet until the next stop which thankfully to the rest of the carriage was theirs. When I arrived in Xian I was met by Frank 'the Buckland representative'. Sometimes it is relaxing and cool to have someone meet you at your destination It is even much cooler when they have your name written in big letters on a card! First stop was of course Mc Donald's but this time it was the Drum tower Mc Donald's as it had easy parking for Franks speedy little red car. It may not have had an ancient Bell Tower to look at but across but above it is an ancient Drum Tower and for me that was good enough! There was also a very expensive Chinese looking hotel I could dream about staying in. While chatting, both Frank and I come to the conclusion that we were both sure we had met before and after discussing how and where we finally figured it out. We had met in my little Guangxi town Tianyang when Owen (my boss) came to visit me for the afternoon on the way back from a business trip in the west. So, where to stay this time? I had decided not to stay in a Youth Hostel in Xian as each time I had visited the city I had dropped into different hostels see how much a room cost (with a bathroom) and always they were near double what I was paying in a normal Chinese hotel. Frank knew of a hotel near the south gate called the Yin Yang Hotel. It can be found on the right as you face the south gate from inside the city walls. You will see a sign for it if you are walking to the Shuayuan Youth Hostel. The sad thing is though, when I first traveled Youth Hostels were a place you could stay and get the best price in town on a bed. You didn't have to shop around for a room and you could also meet many people and have a great time. Now Youth Hostels are more expensive and sometimes much more expensive than hotels and the fact is most really don't care too much about helping your save money. Many even advertise this with a sign on the wall saying 'we are not a budget hostel'. But what they are good at now (and thankfully so), is organising things for you that most people could never orgainise themselves. Eg: Tours, train/bus tickets, food etc Don't get me wrong though, there really are some that are truly awesome and will bargain and help you. Frank and I spent an hour or so at his apartment talking about this and that and soon I was walking the busy Xian streets. The amount of foreigners visiting Xian doubles each time I return. I'm sure some of us look at each other and think the same thing. Most sadly though most play the 'I am the only foreigner in Xian' game and as soon as you spot them looking at you and say G'Day or Hello they quickly divert their eyes away from you and pretend they never saw you. Strange behavior, very very strange behavior. It always confuses Luo Wei when they divert their eyes. While walking the streets I thought how strange it was that I had been to Xian so many times yet I had never been inside the Bell or Drum Towers. So I made a decision to visit one or both of them this very day. Just as I paid my ticket I got a call from Luo Wei telling me she would be at the south gate in thirty minutes. Lucky for me, just as I began my Bell Tower adventure a performance was just beginning so I got to see everything I wanted to see and could now be happy! The Bell Tower or Zhong Lou: [/i]</b> Located northwest within the Muslim Quarter.[/i] [/i] The Bell Tower is a stately traditional building that marks the geographical center of the ancient capital. From this important landmark extend East, South, West and North Streets, connecting the Tower to the East, South, West and North Gates of the City Wall of the Ming Dynasty.[/i] [/i] The wooden tower, which is the largest and best-preserved of its kind in China, is 36 meters (118 feet) high. It stands on a brick base 35.5 meters (116.4 feet) long and 8.6 meters (28.2 feet) high on each side. During the Ming Dynasty, Xian was an important military town in Northwest China, a fact that is reflected in the size and historic significance of its tower.[/i] [/i] The tower was built in 1384 by Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang as a way to dominate the surrounding countryside and provide early warning of attack by rival rulers.[/i] [/i] The tower has three layers of eaves but only two stories. Inside, a staircase spirals up. The grey bricks of the square base, the dark green glazed tiles on the eaves, gold-plating on the roof and gilded color painting make the tower a colorful and dramatic masterpiece of Ming-style architecture. In addition to enhancing the beauty of the building, the three layers of eaves reduce the impact of rain on the building.[/i] [/i] On the second floor, a plaque set in the west wall records the relocation of the tower in 1582. When it was first built in 1384, it stood near the Drum Tower on the central axis of the city, and continued to mark the center of the city since Tang Dynasty and the following the Five Dynasties and the Song and Yuan Dynasties. As the city grew, however, the geographical center changed. Therefore, in 1582, the Tower was moved 1,000 meters (3,280 feet) east of the original site. Except for the base, all parts are original, and history tells us that the relocation was accomplished quickly and inexpensively, making it a truly notable achievement in the architectural history in China.[/i] [/i] Originally, the northwest corner of the tower housed the famous Jingyun Bell from the Tang Dynasty. Legend has it that although nothing had changed in the tower, the Jingyun Bell fell silent during the Ming Dynasty, so the current bell, a much smaller one weighing only 5 tons, was cast. The original Jingyun Bell can now be seen in Forest of Stone Steles Museum.[/i] [/i] The engravings on the doors of the Tower reflect the decorative fashion of Ming and Qing Dynasties, recounting popular stories of ancient China.[/i] [/i] On each side of the base, there is an arched door 6 meters (19.6feet) high. In the past, vehicles were allowed to pass through the arches and under the tower, but as the city has grown the volume of traffic has become too great, so a bright, spacious pedestrian subway has been constructed under the tower. The entrance to the tower is from this subway.[/i] [/i] A fenced-in area around the tower is planted with grass and flowers. In early spring, the tender plum blossoms and bright new grass surrounding the old tower provide a harmonious contrast. Not far from the Tower, modern shopping malls and a brightly decorated square reveal the prosperity of the city. When night falls, lanterns hung from the eaves illuminate the tower, making it even more enchanting.[/i] [/i] The Bell Tower definitely deserves a visit on your trip to Xian.[/i] When I met Luo Wei the poor bugger looked so hot and so tired. She had worked the last three weeks without any weekends and most of it from 7:30am to around 11:30pm due to exams and having to mark them before the next day. She slept most of the afternoon in the comforts of the cool air conditioned room. As it was her birthday she had the choice of where to eat dinner and she chose the Youth Hostel so she would choose from a foreign menu and maybe a foreign beer. Our dinner was spaghetti, a huge club sandwich, lamb curry rice and several Carlsberg Chill beers. Beers N Noodles toya.....shane _________________________________________________________ The soundtrack to this entry was the one and only Prince The album was the one with the symbol on the front! __________________________________________________________

City Walk &#38;amp; Bell Towers

City Walk &#38;amp; Bell Towers


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Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China

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