Asia 2005 Journey Day Eleven
                                   Beijing, China to Xi'an, China
                                            May 14, 2005:  Warm and hazy in Beijing.  Before the afternoon flight to Xi'an, a couple of quick visits
                                            were scheduled - Pearl market and Tempe of Heaven.  
                                            The Pearl Market was reflective of most markets - aggressive selling and price negotiation.  One trinket
                                            purchased started at $6700 RMB ($800 USD) and ended up for $400 ($48 USD).  Seems every seller is 
                                            your "friend" since the English word was used frequently.  Our master trader Loretta had the skills to
                                            ensure a proper agreement.
                                            The Temple of Heaven is classic China and Beijing history.  Located in the center of an extensive city 
                                            park, the cylinder shaped building is seen from all directional gates.  As with many of China's historic
                                            relics, it is suffering from neglect and is pending a complete restoration.
                                            The scheduled flight was missed when the hotel car driver became confused directionally as to driving
                                            to the airport.  One cultural trait is the ability of drivers to stop their car in the middle of traffic and 
                                            talk with our drivers.  Our driver did it 3 times and was challenged that the Airport Expressway would
                                            end at the airport.  The airline accommodated changing the tickets to the next flight and we enjoyed 
                                            hot soup noodles in the lounge during the interim.
                                            Our flight into Xi'an had clear skies.  It allowed for viewing of the multiple tomb mounds outside the 
                                            city.  Xi'an was the base of Chinese power very centuries ago and it's rulers were buried in earthen
                                            mounds.  Since the city was designated as a poor city by the Beijing government during the last
                                            century, many of the city artifacts have remained and were not replaced with modernized highways
                                            or buildings.  Thus, a fully walled Xi'an with Drum and Bell Tower reflects it's past.  Now, it has
                                            a turn to receive all new buildings, including a new downtown the size of Phoenix.  China's growth
                                            seems to be in every key city.




                                           Travel specs:  Air China Boeing 737-300, Audi A8, Xi'an Airport Shuttle Bus
                                            Return to Asia 2005