Sent: Thursday, November 03, 2005 7:03 AM
Subject: #5-China-Xian,Chong Ching

Dear family and friends,
So far I sent 4 emails:
#1.Happy New Year on eve of my world tour-10/5/05
#2. World Tour-India 10/19/05
#3. Nepal-Tibet- 10/25
#4. Tibet-Lhasa- 10/30
If you did not receive any of above, let me know and I'll resend.
From Lhasa we flew to Xian, China and that was a huge positive shock.
Ron used to come for business to Xian from 1982 to 1991 and it was a sleepy city with only 1 international hotel, old delapidated buildings from the communist era and a 2-lane road to the airport.
Now in 2005 we see a super modern international airport, a super highway to the city of almost 7 million people, modern buildings, banks, fashionable stores, a lot of greenery and flowers everywhere and expensive cars on the roads. We see mostly young vibrant, self-confident successful people on the bustling streets.
Xian has a very long and interseeting history. Two centuries before Rome was founded, Xian was already the largest city of the ancient world with a population of 2 million and was the capital of China for a 1000 years and the starting point of the famous Silk Road.
We visited a world-class history museum, saw a wonderful traditional Chinese perforformance from the Tang Dynasty, many temples and emperors' tombs.
But the star attraction in Xian are the 6000 life-size terracota figures of warriors, horse-drawn chariots which are housed in a huge museum at the same site they were discovered back in 1974 by a chinese peasant digging for a well. They are considered the greatest archaelogocal discovery of the 20th century and the 8th Wonder of the World along with the Pyramids in Egypt and the Graet Wall of China. The Chinese stopped excavating more of the terracota figures for fear of damage to the color and texture from exposure to air and are looking for new technologies to save the original colors.
From Xian we flew to Chong Ching to start the Yangtze River cruise. And again the same wonderful feeling of success and progress in Chine. The beautiful hilly city (like San Francisco) with modern residential towers,wide boulvards with elaborate landscaping, shopping malls that can match any in the west, restaurants and stores full of young enthusiastic people, marble-laden pedestrian malls and beautiful illumination of building at night. What China has acchieved in 15-20 years is mind-boggling and should serve as a model to Moslem and African countries.
We are enjoying our travel in China very much and admire the Chinese people and their achievements.
Tonight we are starting our cruise. As a matter of fact we are sending this email from the ship "Dragon".
Best wishes and much love
Inna and Ron