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National Day..Green Parks, Temples N Good Friends

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya Winter clothes! I sometimes surprise myself as to where I end up shopping for clothes. Besides spending time with Luo Wei, the main reason for coming to Xian these holidays was to search for some warmer clothes for the coming onslaught of freezing cold tempretures. I have a couple of pairs of thermals and very thin micro-fibre cargo pants that zip off at the knee. One could not say that I will be warm when winter hits. I have been here for several days and I have not purchased a single item of warmth. So todays plan was to search for and purchase at least some of what I need! I left hotel around mid morning and was welcomed by a beautiful warm and sunny day. Prior to immursing myself amongst the millions of shoppers I went in search of breakfast. I headed across to the Art District where I usually choose between several of the streets eats. I found my little old lady who whips up an awesome egg and tofu bread 'thing' and after purchasing three of them I sat near the districts gateway to relax and eat. Here I met two guys from England who were happily munching away on the same breakfast as I. We got to talking and I found out they were on a whirlwind tour of northern China. Several days in Beijing, a single day and night in Xian and then tonight they were boarding a train and heading across to the east coast province of Zhejiang where they will stay in Hangzhou for a few days and it will then be off to Shanghai. Though it is a whirlwind tour, by the time they get home they will have seen a lot more of China, gained a first hand experience of the food, sights, smells and most of all the 'vibe' of China that all those who are still at home dreaming about it will ever experience. As they had only an afternoon left I put plan B into action! That being what I normally do, allow a completely unplanned day come to life! All thoughts of winter clothes were forgotten somewhere between G'Mate and Where are you off to now. As I had been thinking of heading to the Botanical Gardens and they were heading to the Dayang Pagoda (The Big Goose Pagoda/Music Square) we all jumped into a cab and soon we were watching the world's biggest music fountain in action. It was then a walk around the exterior of the pagoda grounds before I left them with an Israely couple who were also waiting for a cab back to the comforts within Xian's ancient walls. I then continued walking south and made my way to the Botanical Gardens. What do you think of when you hear the words Botanical Gardens? Most usually think of one of the city's most beautiful and diverse gardens. I have been to many Botanical Gardens all over the Asian world and usually that is what you get. Lush green grass, a flurry of magnificent colours and smells and a memory stick full of memories. So if you are like me and love Botanical Gardens then you can skip the Xian Botanical Gardens. Instead of my usual many hours I was in and out in about forty minutes and that was dragging out the time despretally searching what I thought was missing. That being lush green grass and a flurry of magnificent colours and smells. After leaving in total disappointment I decided to continue my southern adventure and I entered the tiny streets that housed the ruins of Tang's Temple of Heaven. It took a few stops and starts but I finally found what I was looking for. Sadly though there was a gate with a huge padlock on it that separated me from the temple ruins. Soon I was joined by two Chinese students who were studying in Taiyuan City in Shanxi Province. One of them was from Guilin City in Guangxi and the other was from Quanzhou city in Fujian Province. I have spend a year and a half in each province so we had a lot to talk about. The Temple of Heaven served as a stage of solemn rites performed by the Son of Heaven who preyed there for good harvests, and sought divine clearance and atonement for the sins of the people and it was built in an assortment of shapes the symbolized both heaven and earth.[/i] I was going to continue west to the ruins of the Tang Mingde Gate but I decided to join them instead and soon we boarded Bus No: 504 on Chang An Lu (near the huge Television Tower) and five minutes later we were being dropped off at the Tomb of Qin Huhai. For those who don't know who he is here is a bit of information for you; In 1974 peasants drilling a well uncovered one of the largest and most important finds of the 20th Century. An underground vault that eventually yielded thousands of terracotta soldiers and horses in battle formation. So awesome are they that no two soldiers faces are alike. The man behind the terracotta warriors was the man who first unified China. He began his rule at aged thirteen and over the next thirty six years he created an efficient, centralised government, standardised measurements, currency and writing and he also built over six thousand four hundred kilometers of new roads and canals. And in his spare time he conquered six major kingdoms. The man was none other than Qin Shi Huang and he was the father of Qin Huhai who was buried beneath the mound of dirt that I visited today. What were his achievements? Your guess is as good as mine. We visited the tomb mainly to see a different part of Xian and because it was cool to visit the tomb of the son of the great Terracotta Warrior Dude, no matter how freaky his other side was. Eg: paranoid control freak who enslaved hundreds of thousands of people to work on his 'projects, ordered all written texts to be burnt and who didn't like criticism so much that he had nearly five hundred scholars buried alive.[/i] If you have been to Xian and are wondering where this little visited tomb is, you can find it in the bottom left hand corner of the city map you can purchase just about everywhere in Xian. It is right on the outskirts of the city and just about off the map. Across from the tomb there is a huge surprise to be found. On the map it is a small green patch where the Hanyao Temple is found. What was once 'nothingness' has been transformed into 'the new China'. That being one thousand five hundred acres of beautiful park lands. Construction began in July 2007 and was completed by July 2008. It is known as The Park of Qujiang Pool Relics. What the relics are and what the pool was I have no idea, I just know that what is there now is beautiful and well worth an afternoons visit. There is a huge lake, tree lined walk ways, eateries and thousands of happy people having fun in peddle boats, lazing on the green grass and walking from here there. This is what China is now striving for. A much greener and harmonous world for their people to live in. Ever so slowly many of the main cities are being transformed into places such as this. One just has to look at cities such as Guilin and Nanning where huge park lands are being built around historical sites such as the Hanyao Temple. Of course there is so much 'old China' (meaning white tiled horrid cities) that unless you are here for a long time these changes are barely noticeable. But thankfully it is happening and for me it is happening rather quickly. Since China has opened its doors, eyes and ears to the rest of the world its new governments have obviously had a complete mind shift as to what real beauty is. I have seen this first hand on many occasions and a huge example is the city of Yinchuan in Ningxia Province. All new buildings are of a modern European/Western style and all can easily compete with any of those found in any western city. There are none of the standard white tiled concrete blocks that China has become so famous for (not in a good way!). China is changing and changing at a much quicker pace than any other country on earth. People often ask me why I want to live here and why I have no plans on returning home for some time. Not only do I love the people and life here but each time I travel I am witness to how the oldest civilization on earth is not only changing but also desperately trying to save its history and merge the both of them together. An amazing feat and sadly one that really can't be put into words nor captured on film. The closest thing I've found would be the BBC Documentary 'Wild China'. If you haven't seen it, please do as it shows China for who it is now. Not the China we know of from the past. The Hanyao Temple cost ten Yuan and is worth a visit but only if you are in the area or like me, are simply using it as a destination to see what can be found in between point A & B. It is run down, hasn't seen a cleaner or a gardener for decades and is very much waiting for a temple renovation to give it a lick of paint and a much needed new anceint face. Whilst walking around it is easy to see how beautiful it must have been in its heyday. By the time I walked all the way back to the city I was starving. Happily I got a call from my buddy Ying to see if I had eaten. Ying is from Zhengzhou in Henan Province and spent about five years in London as a student and then working. I think I've written about Ying before. We met in KFC and were surprised each other by the fact that we both had the same keyring as we were staying in the same hotel. Not long after the phone call we were sitting down with his girlfriend at a local dumpling eatery and believe me, by the time we finished you could have rolled me to the Hostel for a beer. Yes, I was full! But that was my food stomach! Beers N Noodles toya.....shane _________________________________________________________ The soundtrack to this entry was by the one and only Xavier Rudd The album was 'Solace' __________________________________________________________

Hanyao Temple, Qujiand Park, Qin Huhais Tomb & Tem

Hanyao Temple, Qujiand Park, Qin Huhais Tomb & Tem


Hanyao Temple, Qujiand Park, Qin Huhais Tomb & Tem

Hanyao Temple, Qujiand Park, Qin Huhais Tomb & Tem


Hanyao Temple, Qujiand Park, Qin Huhais Tomb & Tem

Hanyao Temple, Qujiand Park, Qin Huhais Tomb & Tem


Hanyao Temple, Qujiand Park, Qin Huhais Tomb & Tem

Hanyao Temple, Qujiand Park, Qin Huhais Tomb & Tem


Hanyao Temple, Qujiand Park, Qin Huhais Tomb & Tem

Hanyao Temple, Qujiand Park, Qin Huhais Tomb & Tem


Hanyao Temple, Qujiand Park, Qin Huhais Tomb & Tem

Hanyao Temple, Qujiand Park, Qin Huhais Tomb & Tem


Hanyao Temple, Qujiand Park, Qin Huhais Tomb & Tem

Hanyao Temple, Qujiand Park, Qin Huhais Tomb & Tem


Hanyao Temple, Qujiand Park, Qin Huhais Tomb & Tem

Hanyao Temple, Qujiand Park, Qin Huhais Tomb & Tem


Hanyao Temple, Qujiand Park, Qin Huhais Tomb & Tem

Hanyao Temple, Qujiand Park, Qin Huhais Tomb & Tem


Hanyao Temple, Qujiand Park, Qin Huhais Tomb & Tem

Hanyao Temple, Qujiand Park, Qin Huhais Tomb & Tem


Hanyao Temple, Qujiand Park, Qin Huhais Tomb & Tem

Hanyao Temple, Qujiand Park, Qin Huhais Tomb & Tem


Hanyao Temple, Qujiand Park, Qin Huhais Tomb & Tem

Hanyao Temple, Qujiand Park, Qin Huhais Tomb & Tem


Hanyao Temple, Qujiand Park, Qin Huhais Tomb & Tem

Hanyao Temple, Qujiand Park, Qin Huhais Tomb & Tem


Hanyao Temple, Qujiand Park, Qin Huhais Tomb & Tem

Hanyao Temple, Qujiand Park, Qin Huhais Tomb & Tem


Hanyao Temple, Qujiand Park, Qin Huhais Tomb & Tem

Hanyao Temple, Qujiand Park, Qin Huhais Tomb & Tem


Hanyao Temple, Qujiand Park, Qin Huhais Tomb & Tem

Hanyao Temple, Qujiand Park, Qin Huhais Tomb & Tem


Hanyao Temple, Qujiand Park, Qin Huhais Tomb & Tem

Hanyao Temple, Qujiand Park, Qin Huhais Tomb & Tem


Hanyao Temple, Qujiand Park, Qin Huhais Tomb & Tem

Hanyao Temple, Qujiand Park, Qin Huhais Tomb & Tem


Hanyao Temple, Qujiand Park, Qin Huhais Tomb & Tem

Hanyao Temple, Qujiand Park, Qin Huhais Tomb & Tem


Hanyao Temple, Qujiand Park, Qin Huhais Tomb & Tem

Hanyao Temple, Qujiand Park, Qin Huhais Tomb & Tem


Hanyao Temple, Qujiand Park, Qin Huhais Tomb & Tem

Hanyao Temple, Qujiand Park, Qin Huhais Tomb & Tem


Hanyao Temple, Qujiand Park, Qin Huhais Tomb & Tem

Hanyao Temple, Qujiand Park, Qin Huhais Tomb & Tem


Hanyao Temple, Qujiand Park, Qin Huhais Tomb & Tem

Hanyao Temple, Qujiand Park, Qin Huhais Tomb & Tem


Hanyao Temple, Qujiand Park, Qin Huhais Tomb & Tem

Hanyao Temple, Qujiand Park, Qin Huhais Tomb & Tem


Hanyao Temple, Qujiand Park, Qin Huhais Tomb & Tem

Hanyao Temple, Qujiand Park, Qin Huhais Tomb & Tem


Hanyao Temple, Qujiand Park, Qin Huhais Tomb & Tem

Hanyao Temple, Qujiand Park, Qin Huhais Tomb & Tem


Hanyao Temple, Qujiand Park, Qin Huhais Tomb & Tem

Hanyao Temple, Qujiand Park, Qin Huhais Tomb & Tem

Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China

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