I've now made it to Xian. Many may have not of heard of it, but it's the home of the terra cotta warriors, a very well known archiology discovery some years back. I'm going out to visit them tomorrow, staying here for a few days. It's also the center of many chinese dynastys stretching back more than 3000 years. The home of chairman Mao to boot. The smog here is incredible. There's only about a half mile visibility. Local guy told me that's just the way it is.
It's a significant waypoint of my journey since I knew I was always going to stop here and see the warriors, but also where I begin turning directly southeast heading for Hong Kong. Still about 1000 miles to go, but I feel it's like the last leg. Been passing thru some very scenic country of late, all terraced farmland, miles of willow lined roads, fruit stands everywhere and passing thru some of the craziest tunnels I've ever seen. Dark dust filled no lights 1k long. Signs outside saying no bicycles but hey this is the only road. Hope they're behind me.
So many people everywhere in contrast to the Gobi, villages every couple of k's so it's been hard to stealth camp. Lucky I find these 20 yuan ($3.50) hotels in the small towns. The bigger towns and cities have cheap hotels too, but several times now I've been kicked out of them after I've settled in for the evening once the keepers report my presence to the police. Only the expensive hotels it seems are certified to host foreigners. I'm staying here in a youth hostel that is reasonably priced and they have a great coffee/pizza cafe. Haven't had a decent cup of coffee since leaving Germany.
This is a walled city, the former fortress of kings so I'll get out tomorrow and take a few pics. I'm finally adjusting to China, been here 5 weeks now and am learning to order some different food, or rather different types of noodles. I'm getting used to people being amazed and tugging at my arm hair, being gawked at and beginning to think that if the drivers didn't honk their horns at everyone they'd be running people over constantly. Seen so many people, bicycles, cars, and farm equipment just mosey out in front of traffic, relying only on the horn blaring to tell them to take a look.
As I slowly approach the population centers of the East I can feel the humanity getting more and more dense. Still it's just another part of this grand journey. I'm feeling good and it's just getting better by the day as I approach the end. Hope everyone is well and talk to again soon. Brian