"In such diffused changes of culture two factors are necessary: contact and understanding..." - Hu Shih
Day 03: 24 May 2013
XI’AN - LANZHOU
After breakfast we checked out of the hotel and started the day tour at 09:00. It was raining quite heavily when we boarded our bus.
|(The Bell Tower through the rain)|
|(A visit to a Jade Shop)|
Our first itinerary for today was a visit to a Jade shop. This visit was not even in our original itinerary but I was told that it was one of the many compulsory visits arranged by the travel agent to promote tourism in China. As most of us were not really interested in buying jade the visit was cut short.
|(The Big Wild Goose Pagoda)|
|(Scenes around the Big Wild Goose Pagoda)|
Later we went to visit The Big Wild Goose Pagoda, a Buddhist pagoda located in southern Xi'an. It is a square brick-laid construction with the height of 64 meters with seven stories of side length carrying 25 meters and it is also decorated with specially designed spiraling stairs and arch doors for four sides of the stories. The walls of the Big Wild Goose pagoda are well engraved with the statues of Buddha by the world most renowned artist Yan liben.
|(Young lady scholars reciting al-Quran in the prayer hall)|
Today the men decided to attend the Friday prayer in the Great Mosque of Xi'an. The ladies prayed in a separate prayer hall outside the mosque and had our lunch early while waiting for the men to perform their prayers. It was really fascinating to listen to their experience on how the Muslims here performed their Friday prayer which was quite interesting and different.
|(The majestic City Wall)|
|(Standing by the wall among the ancient wheels)|
|(Busy scenes on the City Wall)|
Lunch was at the Muslim quarters again today. In the itinerary the group was supposed to visit Xi'an Stone Tablets Museum which houses the largest collection of stone tablets and was named by UNESCO as one of the 50 famous museums in the world. After a group consensus, we decided to visit the city wall instead. As this was an optional tour, we paid for the entrance fee and had the opportunity to climb a short distance of the wall. On top, you have the choice of riding on a cart from one watch tower to another or rent a bike and cycle. Most of us decided to just walk around and visited the exhibition halls.
|(The Drum Tower - brightly lit at night)|
While driving around the Xi’an city we passed the Drum Tower of Xi'an, located in the heart of Xi'an and the Bell Tower. The Drum Tower is located northwest of the Bell Tower, across the Bell and Drum Tower Square. Both of them are called the 'sister buildings' or 'morning bell and dark drum'. There is no iron nail used anywhere in the Tower. There are twenty-four drums in its north and south sides. They stand for the Twenty-four Solar Terms which is a of weather calendar created by the Chinese ancients in order to guide the agricultural production. In ancient China, especially from the Yuan Dynasty, the drums were used to signal the running of time and on occasion were used as an alarm in emergency situations.
|(The busy and crowded bazaar at the Muslim Quarters)|
|(Bright lanterns, dates and nuts)|
After an early dinner we were transferred to the Airport for a domestic flight to Lanzhou.
We arrived in Lanzhou around 22:30 and were greeted by Eric, our tour guide. The one-hour bus ride took us to the Sapphire Hotel where we stayed for the night.
|(The Saphire Hotel, Lanzhou)|