Our final day in Xi’an was hectic. We began with a tour of Xian Technological University and ended being rather, well tired. In between we ate at the semi-formal Pizza Hut in in the Old Town we visited previously.
Between the college and the ‘hut was saw one of the sights Xi’an is known for: the Great Wild Goose Pagoda.
Come on in to the pagoda and and her Temple of Maternal Grace!
We did this in the normal way: run to the middle of the road when that traffic was low, wait in the middle of the road while traffic on both sides is high, and run again when traffic on the other side is row. Using this technique, I was nearly run over by a bus earlier in the trip. However, when I had to use this strategy to enjoy the beech of the Pearl Ocean I kind of got used to it, so the adventure was not so heart-pounding as before.
Once on the other side, though, the pedestrian mall was big and spacy
We made our way across the mall, slowly approaching the tower.
The atmosphere was happy. Xi’an is a touristy city, so plenty of visitors (mostly from other parts of China, but some laowai — mostly Europeans) were enjoying themselves.
The walk was long, and it turns out that the cab driver could have dropped us off at the front gate…
… but I’m glad he didn’t. The small adventures along the way (such as thinking a pay-restroom attendant was trying to bargain down from a 5 RMB price for the building’s services, instead of merely charging me the standard 5 jiao fee)
Plus, finally seeing the inside of the pagoda and temple was a real kick:
Sadly, I have only one more temple picture in this series: a somewhat dull shot of a sideview:
Then my camera ran out of battery. This is too bad, as the amazing scenes had just begun. Several beautiful temple-rooms featured buddhas in a variety of styles, and these buddhas were in active use (being prayed to by older-middle-aged women, mostly). Much of the art had a “Catholic-y” style, including a statue that from a distance looked like Mary in a grotto. Additionally, there was an interesting description of the various types of buddhas (Pure Land, Zen, etc) — which would have been way more useful to be if it was in English.
And all that is only the stuff in the Temple of Maternal Grace — the Big Wild Goose pagoda itself featured supposed footprints of a monk who brought Buddhist scriptures back from India, interesting stone-etchings, a truly amazing view, and lots of friendly people.
The Big Wild Goose pagoda was my last sight-seeing in Xi’an. If you have two hours in Xi’an to spend one day, take a taxi and enjoy the Pagoda. It’s worth it.