Xian Trip Spring 2015

 

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For those of you who pay keen attention to CSA on social media, you might have noticed a slight surge in marketing for our Xian trip in recent weeks. Well, I’m very glad to report a successfully delivered trip to the city, which first ignited my passion for ‘all things China’. For those of you who didn’t go however, all is not lost, for we have a wealth of

 to show as well as a timely write-up provided by my good self.

 

Friday

After a slight delay in getting our tickets due to a ‘5’ being mistyped as an ‘S’ we were on our way on train T231 from Beijing to Xian. Out of our merry travellers, eleven of us were seated in the ‘value for money’ hard sleeper class with one lucky customer (CSA Patrick) living the high life further down the train in the luxurious soft sleeper. After a succession of banterful discussions we nestled down for bed as the train chugged on into the night.
Saturday
Being a veteran traveller on Chinese trains ‘Friday night Andrew’ managed to successfully guess what ‘Saturday morning Andrew’ would most be craving. So with a cup of instant coffee in my hand, we got off the train in Xi’an and were pleasantly surprised to see our hostel (Hang Tang Inn) had decided to give us a free pick-up, a most welcoming sight at 0730 on a Saturday morning I promise you that.
Three hours, a shower, a nap and some breakfast later, we were back at the train station headed out to the Terracotta Army, which for those of you unfamiliar with Xi’an, is one of China’s national treasures featuring around 8,000 uniquely well preserved army warriors built to protect Emperor Qin on his journey to the afterlife. For those of you who have never been, it is a true sight to behold I assure you.
After being sufficiently stared down by our fellow Chinese tourists at the Terracotta Warriors, it was a short bus ride back to Xi’an where a short rest up ensued. Later in the evening as stomachs were starting to rumble, we met up with one of the nicest people in China and alas, my closest Chinese friend from my Xi’an days. Qin Shao Peng as he is called (Conner to the rest of us) is a local lad who knows Xi’an and its many restaurants like the back of his hand. With his watchful presence, I could let me guard down as we heading out for some traditional Yang Pao Mo (羊泡馍) which is essentially torn up bread and lamb meat in a soup with some glass noodles. I thoroughly recommend it for those who have never experienced such a dish. Just as we thought we couldn’t eat anymore, I dragged our travellers though the spectacular hustle and bustle that is the ‘Muslim Quarter’ or Hui Min Jie (回民街) in Xi’an. With the days events fast catching up with me and many others, I could just about manage a quick beer in the hostel bar before crawling into bed a marginally pathetic 10:15pm
Sunday
After one of the best nights sleep I’ve had in a long time in China, many of our travellers tucked into our hostels ‘big breakfast’ which was actually surprising good considering I come from a country which prides ourselves in ‘full English breakfasts’.
With this and a morning coffee swirling around in my stomachs it was a leisurely walk down to the city walls where two hours of what can only be described as ‘carnage with bicycles’ occurred. Activities such as drag racing and moving selfie shots were common sight.
After completing our 12.96km bike ride, we continued with our ‘jam-packed’ schedule and headed down to the Da Yan Ta (大雁塔), Big Wild Goose Pagoda for those who don’t speak Chinese. Despite the rather beautiful fountain show on offer, my stomach rumbling got the better of me as I caved in for a hearty meal at ‘China’s KFC equivalent’ – Dicos.
Back on the train, myself and the more ‘money savvy’ CSA students opted for the cheaper hard-sleeper train while some others who valued a night in their own bed as opposed to one on the train took the High Speed train known as ‘gao tie’ (高铁) back to Beijing taking little over 5 hours.
Overall, as pointed out by many of my peers, a very enjoyable trip, one which I hope can be repeated next semester.
Final Thanks
I’d like to take the time to thank a few of individuals for helping to make our trip as successful as it was.
Firstly, Conner Qin who holds the title of being my first and to date, only Chinese friend who assisted with our traditional Shaanxi meal. If there ever were a true Shaanxi hero, it would be him.
Secondly, the kind staff at the Hang Tang Inn who kindly picked us up from the train station and made our stay as comfortable as possible.
Thirdly, all the people who work for the Dicos Corporation for your honestly priced fast food, which kept us going through physically demanding times.
Finally, everyone who came on this trip and for your positive feedback given back to us.
 
 
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Written By Andrew Cole - CSA Intern Spring 2015
Andrew's China career first started in Xi'an where he spent pretty much the entirity of 2014 at Xi'an International Studies University. Despite starting far too many sentances with 'when I was in Xi'an...' it does at least make him a suitable candidate to run CSA trips there with promsing results.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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