Chinese tourists in Xi'an. The little guy never did quite make it up the wall, but he did manage to distract us by waving while everyone else in the tour group got our picture.

Chinese tourists in Xi’an. The little guy never did quite make it up the wall, but he did manage to distract us by waving while everyone else in the tour group got our picture.

 

Xi'an's city walls and gates date back thousands of years. Xi'an is China's ancient capital and the terminus of the Silk Road (and the final destination on our travels).

Xi’an’s city walls and gates date back thousands of years. Xi’an is China’s ancient capital and the terminus of the Silk Road (and the final destination on our travels).

 

The walls are incredibly thick; we rented a tandem bicycle and rode halfway around them, which took almost an hour and gave us a taste both of Xi'an's incredible history and its pollution.

The walls are incredibly thick; we rented a tandem bicycle and rode halfway around them, which took almost an hour and gave us a taste both of Xi’an’s incredible history and its pollution.

 

South gate.

 

Before leaving the ancient walls, we got psyched up for the Olympics by posing with our tandem bike in front of a gaudy lantern exhibit of the cute Olympic mascots. We knew there was something incredibly bizarre about this combination, although we weren't exactly sure what it was.

Before leaving the ancient walls, we got psyched up for the Olympics by posing with our tandem bike in front of a gaudy lantern exhibit of the cute Olympic mascots. We knew there was something incredibly bizarre about this combination, although we weren’t exactly sure what it was.

 

Xi'an is also home to one of the largest mosques in China, built in the 14th century by Persians and Arabs who arrived over the silk road.

Xi’an is also home to one of the largest mosques in China, built in the 14th century by Persians and Arabs who arrived over the silk road.

 

 

Botanical Garden bridge.

 

The inscription says

The inscription says “One God.”

 

Arabic inscription.

 

Colorful market near the mosque.

Colorful market near the mosque.

 

Xi'an's famous

Xi’an’s famous “Big Goose Pagoda,” built to house Buddhist sutras brought back from India, shrouded here in mystery and modern Chinese pollution.

 

 

Big Goose Pagoda.

 

The famous Terra Cotta Warriors guard the emperor's tomb a kilometer away.

The famous Terra Cotta Warriors guard the first emperor’s tomb a full kilometer away.

 

They are pulled by Terra Cotta horses.

They are pulled by Terra Cotta horses.

 

There are a lot of them.

There are a lot of them.

 

Xishuangbanna sunset, part 3.

 

This camera-shy little boy and his family fed us and put us up. The next day, he hiked and rode back to Jinhong with us, his first time ever visiting a city!

 

On the way toward the Myanmar border, we hiked through some gorgeous rain forest . . .

Although there are thousands, no two warriors have the same face.

 

. . . and some tragic deforestation.

 

But this is the kind of scene we'll remember best!

 

But this is the kind of scene we'll remember best!

 

 

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