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To Hong Kong via Xi'an, ChengDu, Guilin, and Shenzhen

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It was time to leave Beijing so I planned a trip by rail that had me stop at several cities I wanted to visit. I had ten days to do it. I waited a bit late to book and when I did only upper berths were available. All the distances were at least 12 hours from each other so I choose night trains. The first to Xi'an worked out rather well. I got comfortable with hopping down from on high to use a sit down toilet (thank god) which had no toilet paper nor paper towels. Didn't matter...I brought my own. Here was my perch....

For some reason I booked a really nice hotel, the Soluxe Grand. I don't know what I was thinking. But thank heavens because Xi'an is a rather dirty, kind of crummy city. The only reason to be there is to see the Terracotta Warriors and after the fact, I'm not sure that is much of a reason. The same emperor responsible for the Great Wall around 200 BCE (he was also the first emperor) wanted his burial place to be very protected. So the story is that he had thousands of laborers work decades to create this allusion of a military and at the conclusion they were all put to death. It is also alleged that his tomb (separate from the warriors) has never been opened because it is believed to be filled with gas and will kill whoever tries. I think that was a plot in a Charlie Chan movie I saw with my mom. Here are several shots...

And here in the line waiting for the bus to the museum are more Terracotta warriors....

What I found extremely interesting was the Terracotta museum's special exhibit..

Next stop was ChengDu known for its Panda Reserve, birthing center, and research center. The Flip Flop Lounge Hostel turned out to be a very good choice. You get a coupon for a free beer on arrival! The desk was well-informed and extremely helpful. Hostels are a great place to meet other travelers most of whom are doing much more extensive trips than I. One young couple from Switzerland made my travels look paltry. I liked them so much, I invited them to stay with us in SoCal when they are on that leg of their trip. (Oops, I didn't tell Steve yet). Some baby pandas...



There was much more to see and do in this city which is the capital city of the Sichuan province. The food is great, the city is interesting and it's in a pretty area of the country...and there are even red pandas! Here is one...

But onto the next stop via overnight train. This time to Guilin which, I was told, was in a lovely area with lakes and beautiful scenery. The trip from ChengDu was scheduled for about 23 hours. (That's a long overnight but it stopped at every little depot on the way)! And then it came into the station five hours late. All this time I was in the top berth, leaping up and down. I think the male who occupied the lower birth got a little pissed because I stepped on his foot, his finger, and another part that I do not want to consider. I finally arrived at my destination but I must complain about lack of truthfulness in advertising. This was on the table of WADA, my hostel....


I traveled around the city and didn't see anything that suggested it deserved this sub-title. Later, I learned the beautiful area was several hours away. What the heck. I was only there one night. Then it was another overnight train. This time to Shenzhen which is on the border with Hong Kong. This was to be my last train ride in China and it was my most painful. Did I mention something that I have noticed way too frequently among Chinese men? Here is a hint...large_180_574257F62219AC681787CCD1A65ED9D9.jpg

I found this sign in the Delhi metro but I think it should be on every street in China. It is the buildup that is even more disconcerting. It has prompted my gag reflex on more than one occasion. Now can you imagine early morning on a train when 13 men in the washroom are all hacking and spitting? I'm so glad I had on socks and the plastic slippers they give you to wear during the trip.

In any event I arrived in Shenzhen and, once again, had booked myself into an excellent hotel: the Felicity Best Western. It is right by the train station and border crossing with Hong Kong..I mean within several blocks. And for whatever reason, they upgraded me to a suite. I can only guess they saw the goo on my shoes and guessed the reason. Here's the view of the HK skyline from my windows...


Many people choose to stay here instead of Hong Kong because it is substantially cheaper. I, however, was moving onto the Mecca of James Bond. That story is for another day.

Posted by Dayts 06:44 Archived in China

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Thanks for sharing your continued travel adventures. When do you leave for Japan?

by Drenda Cass

Those pandas are SOOOO cute. Your trip sounds great--what an adventure.

by Dorit

WOW - all of that train travel. You're lucky you are a sound sleeper! The spitting sounds really nice. Love all your photos and comments - keep 'em coming! Carol's travels continue.

by Ann

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