Doing it in reverse…

I decided to help the packers by moving everything into the living room. We have three stories straight up and not only did it save them from endless stairs, it helped me see that everything was out of the rooms that was headed back to America in the shipment. We are stopping in Paris for five days so not only am I trying to get everything sent home, I’m trying to pack for vacation and the delay until we get the shipment stateside.
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The packers were here bright and early this morning. It was very strange sitting watching them pack up the life we have known for the last year and a half.

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They were much pickier about what was allowed to go in the shipment. Sadly some local spices in oil were kicked out as well as all of my spices from home. No liquids, no alcohol, no powders, no batteries, no computers and no local DVDs.

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This is the lovely truck that will be taking our things to the first stopping point. Umm, it is a little like a UHaul…I guess. I’m hoping the door doesn’t fall off with all of our stuff inside!
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Everyone loves bubble wrap!
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And it's off. First stop Chongqing, then Tianjin and then USA!

And it’s off. First stop Chongqing, then Tianjin and then USA!

We had 45 boxes today and 38 when we arrived. We only had an air shipment where most families have an air and sea. We did not move furniture, so we declined the sea shipment. So we struggled over making sure we kept our shipment within the allotted weight limit. We did however buy the piece of furniture that got loaded last. I love it and really hope it is in one piece when it arrives!
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Back to how it was when we moved in…cheers, I’m having a glass of wine tonight and calmly sitting and reflecting! What a long, wonderful, strange trip this has been.

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Xi’an our last China city…

Of course we have not been able to do everything we wanted to do in 18 months, but we certainly tried! We knew we wanted to take one last trip in China so we needed to deicde where that would be. We considered Guilin, which we were told was absolutely beautiful and totally worth the trip. Guilin is known for the scenery and outdoor activities. Everyone books a tour where they paddle boats down a river and ride bikes through the countryside. After doing a little research it seemed to me you would want more than three days in Guilin and everyone we talked to spent four or five days there. So we decided we would go to another historical city called Xi’an. My tutor knows how much I enjoy the history of the country and he said it was a must before we left Cina.
The city of Xi’an is almost three thousand years old and home to the Terra Cotta Warriors. It served as the capital for 1000 years during 13 dynasties and a total of 73 emporors ruled here. The most famous dynasties were the Zhou, Qin, Han, and Tang dynasties.
We arranged to travel with two other families for two of the days we were there. We prearranged a tour and bus traveling in a group is always more fun! We actually were with a family that we took our first vacation with and now our last! The major difference I noticed right away about Xi’an is that it is a tourist city. There were a lot of Waiguo ren (foreigners)and the city seemed to cater to all of their out of town guests.
We flew from Chongqing to Xi’an first thing on Saturday morning and after the hour and five minute flight we headed straight to the Terra Cotta Warrior museum.
“Upon ascending the throne at the age of 13 (in 246 BC), Qin Shi Huang, later the first Emperor of all China, had begun the work for his mausoleum. It took 11 years to finish. It is speculated that many buried treasures and sacrificial objects had accompanied the emperor in his after life. A group of peasants uncovered some pottery while digging for a well nearby the royal tomb in 1974. It caught the attention of archeologists immediately. They came to Xi’an in droves to study and to extend the digs. They had established beyond doubt that these artifacts were associated with the Qin Dynasty (211-206 BC).” chinatravelguide.com
So that is the brief history of how this now historical (now considered 8th wonder of the world) site was discovered. A farmer who was digging a well brought up a significant piece of a Tera cotta warrior in his bucket! They later realized that many farmers had brought up pieces of terra cotta before, but they threw them aside like trash as they were broken pieces that didn’t resemble anything. When you walk into the first pit, you are in awe. Each solider stands actual size, with individual hair styles and finger prints. To think of a leader today creating an under ground city for his after life with his own army to protect him would be absurd!image

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This is the Kneeling Archer. The only warrior to be unearthed completely intact of the over 8000 warriors.

This is the Kneeling Archer. The only warrior to be unearthed completely intact of the over 8000 warriors.


The tour included three of the unearthed pits and a museum of other pieces that were recovered. Archeologists know of over 100 pits that are part of the underground city. There are many reasons why other pits have not be excavated, but work still continues on the ones that have been.
Our evening plans were to attend a famous dumpling restaurant and dinner theater. We would sample 15 different dumpling types prior to watching a Tan Dynasty style performance. image

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We awoke to pouring rain on Sunday morning. What does one do in China in the pouring rain? You pull the loaded tour bus into the parking lot of your first attraction, wait two minutes for a local to show up selling umbrellas and barter until you have the best price for 14 umbrellas. We got them for 10 yuan each, $1.60.

Our first stop the White Goose Pagoda.

Our first stop the White Goose Pagoda.


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After the pagoda and temple we had lunch at a restaurant in the Muslim Quarter. Xi’an is the start of the Silk Road in China. Not only did the silk trade open up China it also brought people here. Thousands of people traveled the Silk Road from China to Europe in search of riches. The Silk Road became a major trade route thousands of years ago. The Muslim quarter in Xi’an was established because people came into China, liked living here and married local women. Today this quarter is very rich in traditional Muslim culture. I guess not much different than the North End in Boston, just a little older ;). After lunch we spent several hours in the Muslim markets. I think they were the best of all of the markets I’ve been to in China! We had so much fun! image

This was street food, I love the cat coming out below!

This was street food, I love the cat coming out below!

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On Monday we were on our own and we decided we would rent bikes and ride along the top of the old city wall! Xi’an is the only city that still has a full wall around it. It is a 22km perimeter trip around this ancient city and it became a highlight of the weekend!

We stopped a few times to take in the fact that we were riding bikes on the only completely intact ancient city wall in China!

We stopped a few times to take in the fact that we were riding bikes on the only completely intact ancient city wall in China!


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