A quick entry tonight. I am thoroughly exhausted and half asleep :)
The Chans are reunited! My wonderful brother met up with Melissa and I in Xi’an on Sunday night, along with two of our friends from Hong Kong. Our dynamic duo is now a rabble of travelers. We are at a funky hostel in Xi’an called the Han Tang Inn. And naturally, terracotta warriors greet us at every corner.
Something all hostels should have: kittens. While settling in and waiting for the guys to arrive, three tiny kittens wandered into our dorm. I am immediately obsessed. My first night is somewhat sleepless, due to the constant purring from a tiny white kitten who has decided to curl up next to me in bed. It’s like sleeping next to a tiny furry engine.
Xi’an is one of the ancient capitals of China. Most famous now for the terracotta warriors uncovered in the 70′s. It is also the one place I promised I wouldn’t go without my brother, who is a big history buff. Oh man.. it did not disappoint. My jaw hit the floor as we walked inside a live archaeological dig the size of an aircraft hanger, with hundreds of soldiers standing in battle-ready formation. Perhaps the only thing I enjoyed more than the actual warriors was my brother’s constant stream of commentary and obvious excitement :)
This morning we headed towards Hua Shan, one of Taoism’s holiest mountains. Having been in the Himalayas and the famed Yangshuo carsts, I wondered how much I would be impressed by Hua Shan. In truth, the Lonely Planet doesn’t do it justice. The five peaks are all around 2000m each, and the hike up is more often climbing up a vertical stone ladder while gripping a metal chain. It was a grueling afternoon, and it didn’t help that our 2 hour ride back to the city was spent on flimsy plastic stools in between the aisle of the bus. Oof. Think of it as the post-hike anti-stretch.
Tomorrow evening we head back to Beijing. It’s hard to believe that my trip is more or less over. It feels like yesterday I was just touching down in Lhasa with my entire summer stretching before me. We’ll still be touring around Beijing, but I’m simultaneously wrapping up my apartment and this time next week… I’ll be back in Hong Kong preparing for the next chapter. Eep.
Naturally this means I have a ton of images to work through.. a photographer’s trip is never over :) Ok. I am totally beat. Time for sleep.. zzzzz..