A Travellerspoint blog

Acheh

Banda Acheh after tsunami

I didn;t see the actual aftermath of tsunami in 2004 but from the pictures and stories told, it was quite brutal. We were in Banda Acheh for 4 days from 14 - 17 January 2014. Almost everyone we engaged in conversation in Banda Acheh has a story and experience of how tsunami hit Acheh in 2004. Many still have no closure not knowing where their love ones were buried. Some told their stories with pain in their eyes. The catastrophy was beyond words.
I was in Kinabatangan with Indra and Sharipah on that fateful day, 25 Dec 2004. I remember commenting about the frightening high level of Kinabatangan river which could flood the whole plain. At Kota Kinabalu airport on the way back to KL, I heard the word tsunami. That was the first time I heard it. Not knowing what it meant, I devoured newspaper reports and listened to radio and TV news. I couldn't imagine the severity of the destruction and the effect to the people and the country at that time.
Inside magnificent Tsunami Museum.

Inside magnificent Tsunami Museum.

So the pictures and photos at the museums, galleries and mosques are clear enough showing the havoc caused by earthquack and tsunami on 26 Dec 2004. Human bodies were piled up and buried in mass graves. We visited the Siron mass grave. 140114

Siron mass grave. 140114

Siron mass burial ground. 140114

Siron mass burial ground. 140114

Siron mass grave which buried 46,718 victims, The site is green and well-maintained. There are many more such graves in Banda Acheh.
Masjid Bautulrahim in Uleelheue

Masjid Bautulrahim in Uleelheue

Though Banda Acheh was hit by tsunami, it wasn't as bad as compared to those places near the sea. Masjid Baiturrahim in Ulee Lheue was hit badly but withstood the onslaught of tsunami because it was structurally designed with many pillars allowing swift current to go through. The rest of the village was swept away leaving it like ' padang jarak, padang tekukur'. Everything was gone except the mosque. It is being restored and a damaged corner was retained and became a small gallery exhibiting tsunami photos of the mosque and the village.
Baitulrahman mosque withstood the onslaught of tsunami due to it's architectural design.

Baitulrahman mosque withstood the onslaught of tsunami due to it's architectural design.

The grand Baiturrahman mosque in Banda Acheh was also spared and many people took refuge there.
PTLD Apung weighing 2,600 ton transported 5 km away from the harbour to a village by tsunami.

PTLD Apung weighing 2,600 ton transported 5 km away from the harbour to a village by tsunami.

On top deck of PTLD Apung a huge vessel transported by tsunami 5km from the dock to the village

On top deck of PTLD Apung a huge vessel transported by tsunami 5km from the dock to the village

On the deck of PTLD Apung with some  retired members of the group.

On the deck of PTLD Apung with some retired members of the group.

The power and strength of tsunami current was proved by the 2,600 tons power ship anchored at the harbour at that time which was swept by tsunami 5 km away into a village where it landed on houses. The PLTD Apung now has become a tourist attraction.
Boat on a house. aftermath of tsunami at Gampong Lampulo. 180114

Boat on a house. aftermath of tsunami at Gampong Lampulo. 180114

Another case was a boat being repaired at the dock was swept 2.5 km from the dock and was deposited on top a house. The owner of the boat who fought for his life was able to save 59 people as the current carried the boat away. It was a story of bravery and determination with Allah's help.
The Kubbah awept by tsunami 2.5 km to the village padi field.

The Kubbah awept by tsunami 2.5 km to the village padi field.

Another mosque near the beach was completely destroyed but its concrete dome was swept by tsunami and deposited it intact in the middle of padi fields, including some Qurans on the wall shelves, in Gampong Gurah 2.5km away.
Tsunami destroyed the people and the country but not their spirit. With peace, foreign aids came in various forms. We visited Rahmatullah mosque which was restored fully by the Turkish government who also built houses for the victims. The village is better known as Kampung Turki or the Turkish Village. So many houses for the victims were built by different NGOs to enable them to come back to normal life. But I wonder whether normalcy is achieved fully there.
Beautiful scenery at the beach taken from the top of the Escape building.

Beautiful scenery at the beach taken from the top of the Escape building.

Pristine white sand and blue sea hide the wrath of tsunami in 2004

Pristine white sand and blue sea hide the wrath of tsunami in 2004

I was surprised to see that Banda Acheh is a beautiful place. The long pristine white beaches with calm blue Indian Ocean are bewitching but it hides a wrath that almost destroyed the country. The country is developing and trees are everywhere making the landscape green again. Public transport is limited but there is the labi-labi (taxi-van) like the tuktuk in the Philippines. There are a number of hotels but no 5 star hotel yet. Tourists have started coming but majority is from Malaysia and other foreign countries like Japan.
Restaurants are specilised, that means, they don't serve everything like in Malaysia. If you want to have mee, you got to go to mee restaurants. If you go to Rice restaurant, you get rice and no mee. I am not too keen about the food because they like hot and spicy. Don't be fooled by satay rice, not like the one that you get in Malaysia. They serve beef satay (chicken satay in different restaurant) with rice and soup. The peanut sauce is loose and hot. It wasn't appealing to me.
Since many institutions like orphanages, schools, mosques etc still need financial help, it would be a good idea if you bring small change in Indonesian Rupiahs or Malaysian Ringgit for donations. They don't ask but there are donation boxes everywhere. Fortunately, there are no beggers, adults or children, except one blind couple we encountered. So we were spared the hassle of avoiding them.
I really encourage those who are interested to visit Acheh. It's not far from KL, about 1 hour and 25 minutes flight. It's a good place to learn humility and compassion.
Acheh is a devout Muslim country, So dress appropriately. For Muslim ladies hijab is important. It was no problem for me. As the saying goes ' masuk kandang kerbau menguak, masuk kandang kambing mengembik'. The people are warm and friendly and very hard-working. I would like to visit Acheh again to places outside Banda Acheh like the village of Tun Sri Lanang and the mountain retreat. Insyaallah.

Posted by zuraidaharahman 07:33 Comments (0)

Lombok

The cross-culture experience and the attractions

Lombok is the lesser sister of Bali, less developed and less touristy but just as intriguing. The 4 days and 3 nights visit on 6-9 December 2013 organised by Izan of Dhia Holidays and Travels brought the 10 of us together - mostly teachers and ex-teachers. The 3.7 million population is mostly Muslims, about 80% of them. Though we share common religion, our culture is different, so is the language. We could understand them if they speak Indonesian but we were at a loss if Lombok language was used. The people are friendly, warm and willing to help. Since many Lombok young men and women have worked in Malaysia, Malaysian tourists have become familiar there.
Senggigi beach. Lombok near hotel Puri Bunga and Hotel Sheraton (7)

Senggigi beach. Lombok near hotel Puri Bunga and Hotel Sheraton (7)

Beautiful Kuta beach, white sand, cove, clean sea and hills but spoilt by pestering children and adults who peddle their wares.

Beautiful Kuta beach, white sand, cove, clean sea and hills but spoilt by pestering children and adults who peddle their wares.

Most part of the island is still green and untouched with hills, forests and padi-fields. The coastline is fascinating with sheltered coves and pristine beaches. Senggigi beach is with black sand and Kuta beach with white soft sand. I was told that the eastern part of the island which is not developed yet, is rich with pink sandy beach.
There are a number of cases in Malaysia where young Malay girls were reported run away or kidnapped to Lombok by their Lombok boy-friend who worked in Malaysia. This has concerned many parents, knowing their daughters would have a tough life in Lombok. ' Curi perempuan' is a Lombok culture where a young girl is stolen by a young man and he takes her to his parents' house. Usually both girl and boy are in love and want to get married. Asking a girl's parent (melamar) is considered an insult. After the girl is stolen, the process of negotiation between the boy's family and the girl's family is conducted. According to Pak Hakim, our local guide, even if the girl's parents do not agree , they have a away of making them agree - implying that there is some mystical magic (guna-guna) is used which is still widespreadly practiced.
80 % of Lombok's populatiuon is Muslims but the religion is mostly mixed with animism, Hinduism and Budhism. Some of them called themselves Muslims but practice a branch of Islam that's contrary to the teaching like the Wetu Tiga, that is, they pray 3 times a day instead of 5 times a day. Unfortunately, Lombok young men apply their culture and beliefs in Malaysia and disregard that taking a young girl away without parental consent is amounting to kidnapping. The government interfered in some cases and brought the girls back to their parents.
A 'Lumbung Padi' a storage for padi above the ground at Sasak Traditional Village

A 'Lumbung Padi' a storage for padi above the ground at Sasak Traditional Village

Inside Sasak Traditional house, Rambitan 081213 (25)

Inside Sasak Traditional house, Rambitan 081213 (25)

17 year old Sasak girl, pregnant and married by 'curi' system.

17 year old Sasak girl, pregnant and married by 'curi' system.

We visited the Sasak Traditional Village in Rambitan. Sasak is the indigenous people of Lombok. The roof of their houses is made of Alang-alang grass (elephant grass) which can last about 7 years and the floor is made up of cow-dung mixed with clay and padi husks which keep the house cool. The men sleep outside the house to guard a young girl from being stolen by a young man. They intermarry among themselves and live in the village. Their income is from padi-planting once a year and weaving by the women. The Sasak people guard their people closely from outside influence and practice their traditional way of life strictly.
We stopped for prayer at this unfinished mosque.

We stopped for prayer at this unfinished mosque.

Lombok is known as the island with a 'Thousand Mosques' but most of them are unfinished. They rely solely on gotong-royong, and continue work when there is money. The glaring difference is that most mosques are built just a few meters from one another which is not necessary and not really encouraged.
The steps we have to climb to reach our room at Puri Bunga hotel.  This is only half-way.

The steps we have to climb to reach our room at Puri Bunga hotel. This is only half-way.

Hotel Puri Bunga, Senggigi, perched high on a hill - a test to guests' stamina.

Hotel Puri Bunga, Senggigi, perched high on a hill - a test to guests' stamina.

Puri Bunga Hotel, Senggigi, Lombok

Puri Bunga Hotel, Senggigi, Lombok

Sunset at Senggigi beach taken from the balcony of room 216, Hotel Puri Bunga .

Sunset at Senggigi beach taken from the balcony of room 216, Hotel Puri Bunga .

We stayed at Hotel Puri Bunga in Senggigi, the developed part of the island, opposite Sheraton Hotel. It's a beautiful hotel built on green hills but the numerous steps to the rooms can kill an elderly guests. It's definitely not friendly to seniors, young children and handicapped people. So this hotel should be avoided.
From a balcony at Hotel Bunga Puri. Senggigi. Lombok (12)

From a balcony at Hotel Bunga Puri. Senggigi. Lombok (12)

However, the view of the beach, sunset and the scenery is magnificent from room balcony.
The food in Lombok is normal but I didn't actually enjoy it as it's so hot for my poor tongue. Of course some members love it. I think 'nasi padang' is more delicious with more variety. The famous local food is called Ayam Telewang - grilled chicken with kangkung and sambal.
There are a number attractions in Lombok.
Sendang Gile Waterfall

Sendang Gile Waterfall

Sendang Gile Waterfall with the ladies.

Sendang Gile Waterfall with the ladies.


The group at Kuta Beach. Lombok. 081213 (1)

The group at Kuta Beach. Lombok. 081213 (1)


Lombok unique pottery. Water is poured from the bottom hole and poured out through the snout.

Lombok unique pottery. Water is poured from the bottom hole and poured out through the snout.

Pak Hakim demonstrate how the pot, Kendi Maling,  works at Lombok pottery at Banyumulak.

Pak Hakim demonstrate how the pot, Kendi Maling, works at Lombok pottery at Banyumulak.

Sunset at Senggigi beach taken from the balcony of room 216, Hotel Bunga Puri.

Sunset at Senggigi beach taken from the balcony of room 216, Hotel Bunga Puri.

With Zah and Zarina at Pearl shop, Lombok, 061213

With Zah and Zarina at Pearl shop, Lombok, 061213


The ladies enjoying sweet roasted corn by Senggigi scenic road. 081213

The ladies enjoying sweet roasted corn by Senggigi scenic road. 081213

Scenic route at Bukit Malimbu  071213 (8)

Scenic route at Bukit Malimbu 071213 (8)

Learning to weave at Dyhaqrmasetya Tenun Village

Learning to weave at Dyhaqrmasetya Tenun Village


One comment from Pak Hakim which I still remember is how some Lombok guys who work in Malaysia described retired people in Malaysia as "Lashkar tak Berguna' (useless army). I guess they think retired people here do not contribute anything after they retired. We straightened this thought by introducing most of the members as retired but still contributing to society. We laughed and not feel offended by this misconception.

Posted by zuraidaharahman 23:23 Comments (0)

Shadian, Yunnan Province

The Muslims in Shadian

The magnificent Grand Mosque of Shadian, the biggest in China.

The magnificent Grand Mosque of Shadian, the biggest in China.

Imam Omar Nasir, the Imam of Grand Mosque of Shadian.

Imam Omar Nasir, the Imam of Grand Mosque of Shadian.

It was about 4 hours bus ride to Shadian from Kunming. We passed interesting landscape of undulating land, vast vegetable farms, orchards and small towns. I have a lot of admiration with the Chinese Muslims I met, in Shadian and in Kunming. I salute their dedication and love for the religion and practice Islam as a way of life. Shadian is a small town with Muslim population. Shadian is noted with richness in minerals and many wealthy Chinese Muslims are involved in mineral trade here. The narrow roads seemed difficult to cope with our large tourist bus but the driver was marvelous, maneuvering the bus with ease. We stayed at Hotel Xing Yue, quite new, clean and spacious with sitting toilets.
Xing Yue Hotel in Shadian where we stayed, near the Grand Mosque.

Xing Yue Hotel in Shadian where we stayed, near the Grand Mosque.

Withe Li, the local guide at Hotel Xing Yue in Shadian.

Withe Li, the local guide at Hotel Xing Yue in Shadian.

Imam Omar Nasir of the Grand Mosque of Shadian.

Imam Omar Nasir of the Grand Mosque of Shadian.

Early next morning, the Imam of the Big Mosque of Shadian, Imam Omar Nasir came to see us at the hotel. With tiny notepad and a pen, I looked like reporter interviewing the Imam. This young 37 years old Imam is a humorous and friendly individual, fluent in Arabic and good in English. So conversation with him was not a problem. He has been an Imam for 8 years at the Big Mosque. He graduated from Medina University and Islamabad University (before Medina) and has also spent about 4 months in Chiengmai, Thailand learning about Islam.. Malaysia is quite a familiar place to him as he has come to Malaysia several times. At the Grand Mosque, he gave a briefing about the Mosque and Islam in China. There are about 11 mosques in Shadian area. During the Moa Tse Tong era, Shadian was much left alone and they were allowed to have more than 2 children but wearing hijjab was prohibited. Islam flourished undisturbed there.
Grand Mosque of Shadian

Grand Mosque of Shadian

The main entrance of Big Mosque of Shadian.

The main entrance of Big Mosque of Shadian.

The Grand Mosque of Shadian is a replica ( small version) of Nabawi Mosque in Medina, Saudi Arabia, beautiful and intricate. It costs RMB40 million to build the Mosque financed by donation and zakat. not from the government.
A Madarasah still under construction, as a part of the Grand Mosque of Shadian.

A Madarasah still under construction, as a part of the Grand Mosque of Shadian.

The group at the Madarasah in Shadian.

The group at the Madarasah in Shadian.

But the Chinese government gave RMB 8.9 million to the building of the Madarasah which costs RMB50 millions and it's still under construction. The Grand mosque is a must see spot in Shadian but unfortunately it is not on the tourist map.
Nuler Kindergarten, Shadian

Nuler Kindergarten, Shadian

With Yusuf Mu and wife, Ma Yin Ni, the owner-founder of Nuler Kindergarten.

With Yusuf Mu and wife, Ma Yin Ni, the owner-founder of Nuler Kindergarten.

Beautiful murals at the wall of Nuler Kindergarten, Shadian.

Beautiful murals at the wall of Nuler Kindergarten, Shadian.

Adorable 3 year olds at Nuler Kindergarten, Shadian.

Adorable 3 year olds at Nuler Kindergarten, Shadian.

A child's locker at Nuler Kindegarten, Shadian.

A child's locker at Nuler Kindegarten, Shadian.

The neatly arranged bedding for the Kindergarten children at Nuler kindergarten in Shadian

The neatly arranged bedding for the Kindergarten children at Nuler kindergarten in Shadian

Fat and healthy animals at Nulef Kindergarten for the children.

Fat and healthy animals at Nulef Kindergarten for the children.

Mr. Yusof Mu, owner and founder of Nuler Kindergarten with Imam Omar Nasir, the Imam for the Shadian Big Mosque.

Mr. Yusof Mu, owner and founder of Nuler Kindergarten with Imam Omar Nasir, the Imam for the Shadian Big Mosque.

Adorable 3 year olds in Islamic class

Adorable 3 year olds in Islamic class

The most impressive place that we visited in Shadian was the Nuler Kindergarten. We thought it was just like any ordinary kindergarten, it's not!. It's a beautiful place and buildings with modern facilities. May Allah bless Hi. Yusof Mu and his family for his dedication to providing basic Islamic education to young kids, especially the under-privileged. He spent RMB15 millions of his own money to build the kindergarten (he sold his own house). It was difficult at first but now Nuler Kindergarten is one of the best in China. The ground is large, equipped with children's playground, animal barn and the walls are decorated with beautiful murals for the children.
Nuler Kindergarten

Nuler Kindergarten

It pulls my heartstrings when I learn that the Kindergarten is also a hostel for these children, age 3-6 years. They come from all over China mostly from disadvantage background. The teachers are young totally dedicated to these children even though their salary is very modest. I was engrossed at the 3 year old classes. These rosy cheeks children remind me so much of Rania and wonder how she would be if she were taken away from her parents and live among strangers, far away from home. They are so well-behaved, dewy eyed and curious to see so many strangers, I felt like enveloping all of them in my arms. They are simply adorable. They enjoy 2 months school holidays per year to go back to their villages and parents. The parents come to see the children about 3 days a month and stay with the teachers. Every teacher takes care about 6 - 7 kids, 24 hours a day. Their classrooms are big where they rest, study, play etc. Their cute beds are neatly piled at the wall. Every kid has a locker with neatly arranged clothes, blankets etc. The teacher as their carer, makes sure they are well taken care of. The Founder of the Kindergarten, Hj. Yusof Mu's dream and aspiration seem to materialize, and now his concern is the continuation of his aspiration of Islamic education once they leave the kindergarten to go to government schools. May Allah bless him and his family and continue to make his dream a reality.
With Aminah, a business lady who imports and sells tudung Bawal Exclusive in Shadian. She studied in Malaysia.

With Aminah, a business lady who imports and sells tudung Bawal Exclusive in Shadian. She studied in Malaysia.

I always thought China would sell Muslim attire and head scarves or tudung to Malaysia but the opposite is happening. One of the group members is the owner of Bawal Exclusives, Liza, selling tudung to Muslim ladies. She has a store near Sogo in KL. Her head scarves are popular in China. Having business contact in Shadian, she plans to expand her business. I wish her the best. We were very warmly received and treated to a sumptuous Chinese dinner.
We returned to Kunming the next day,

Posted by zuraidaharahman 19:44 Comments (0)

Kunming in Yunnan Province

Stone Forest and the Muslim community

About a month after visiting Xi'an, I made another trip to China. This time to Kunming. Stone Forest has fascinated me when I watched National Geography and other TV programs. The trip to Stone Forest was on 23 October 2013 and it was raining, making it difficult to enjoy the sight. On top of that, the group was big and everything has to be done in a hurry. It was like a touch and go visit.
At the entrance of Stone Forest

At the entrance of Stone Forest

Buggy transporting visitors from one point to another.

Buggy transporting visitors from one point to another.

Stone Forest is about 75 km from Kunming city. The park itself is huge and there was a lot of walking - good exercise but would be more fun if it was not raining. The garden before going into Stone Forest proper.

The garden before going into Stone Forest proper.

The garden before reaching Stone Forest.

The garden before reaching Stone Forest.

The park before going into Stone Forest proper.

The park before going into Stone Forest proper.

Before coming into the Stone Forest proper, visitors pass through a well-kept park beautifully landscaped which would heighten curiosity, with small limestone formations jutting out in the lake. Since it was quite a distance to walk buggies are provided.
Stone Forest with Ramlah and mei Ling.

Stone Forest with Ramlah and mei Ling.

This limestone forest was believed to be over 270 million years old and it was named a stone forest because of the unique way the limestone jutted out from the ground among the green trees. Nature is kind to the limestone which allows the highest peak of 42 meters high stand strong without breaking (Ref. Tour guide). It's awesome to see this soft limestone juts out forming fascinating structure. There is a lot to see and to explore but our time was limited and there were so many tourists in spite of the rain. Photograph-taking was quite a challenge.
Kunming, the capital of Yunnan Province, is known as "Spring City" as the weather is mild throughout the year. When we arrived it was 11 degree Celsius, too cold for us. We were met by Khadijah, the local tour guide, a Muslim lady. According to her, Khadijah, Aishah, Fatimah are the popular Muslim names for girls in China. Popular Muslim Surname is Ma which is equivalent to Mohammad. All Muslims must have Chinese names to enjoy government facilities. There are about 130,000 Muslims in Kunming from the Hui tribe. Hui means 'come back' and the Hui is one of the minority tribes in China. Yunnan Province has 45 million population with only 1% Muslims, about 600,00 of them and the Hui is the biggest group followed by the Ugher.
We checked in at Hotel Yin Rong. My roommate was Ramlah, an old travelling friend. We were aghast to find all rooms with squatting toilets. A few group members are having difficulty with their knees and requested for sitting toilets. Fortunately they have limited number of rooms with sitting toilets and those in need were given one (include me).
Shun Chen Mosque in Kunming 221013 (18)

Shun Chen Mosque in Kunming 221013 (18)

Shun Chen Mosque in Kunming 221013 (11)

Shun Chen Mosque in Kunming 221013 (11)

The attractive corridor of Shun Chen Mosque  gallery 221013 (19)

The attractive corridor of Shun Chen Mosque gallery 221013 (19)

Yom Ning Mosque in Kunming 221013 (4)

Yom Ning Mosque in Kunming 221013 (4)

The visit to an old mosque in Kunming, Shun Chen Mosque, was rather interesting where Chinese architecture is blended with Islamic architecture. It's interesting to meet so many Muslims there but unfortunately we couldn't converse due to language difficulty. I read a comment in TripAdvisor from a non Muslim in my country about the Grand Mosque of Xi'an. From the comment, it's obvious how ignorant and judgmental the person is with such superiority air condemning the Malaysian Muslims because they are Malays. That's the problem with them, even Jawi script became a threat and took step to wipe it out with so many ridiculous excuses, as has happened in Penang. It would be nice if more understanding and appreciation are practiced and not look at Islam as a threat and their own religion is pure. Prejudice encourages conflict. Jawi script is used everywhere in China in the Muslim community and it does not pose a threat to anybody. The second mosque we visited in Kunming city was the Yom Ning Mosque where different kinds of halal food are sold. All through our visit, we were brought to Muslim restaurants for our lunches and dinners. What surprised me most is that the Kunming Chinese put so much hot chilies in their cooking. Some dishes were so hot that I felt like hitting the ceiling. Xi'an Chinese Muslim food was much more milder.
Kunming Islamic Institute 221013 (2)

Kunming Islamic Institute 221013 (2)

At Kunming Islamic Institute 221013 (10)

At Kunming Islamic Institute 221013 (10)

Interacting with Kunming Islamic Institute staff. 221013 (22)

Interacting with Kunming Islamic Institute staff. 221013 (22)

Another surprise awaited me when we were taken to Kunming Islamic Institute where a 4 year degree course is offered in Islamic studies. This is something new to me. It has 400 students from all over China. A few of them studied at International Islamic University in KL. We met the staff and had a short interaction. Some attend special course to be Imam in their mosques. Thank you Kunming Islamic Institute for your kind reception.
at Jingpo Village, an ethnic village in Kunming. 221013 (4)

at Jingpo Village, an ethnic village in Kunming. 221013 (4)

The visit to Jingpo Ethnic Village was a total disaster. Heavy rain prevented local ethnic activities and we were left at limbo, just looking around the shops in the rain. Many had no choice but to buy umbrellas, raincoats or hats. Some group members at Jingpo Village, Kunming.

Some group members at Jingpo Village, Kunming.


To me personally, I am thankful to Nik Noriah and Alia Travels for organizing the trip. I might not have the opportunity to meet the Muslim community in Kunming more closely if I go on my own or on other normal tour. This is an eye opening for me. Though I dislike traveling in big group and with Air Asia, I am glad I decided to join the trip as the focus of the visit was to see how Chinese Muslims live in China. On top of that, I was able to meet ex-students from Sekolah Tun Fatimah in Johor Bahru during the early 1970s, who were in the same group.
I hope whatever mistakes I wrote in this blog, especially the names of places or people, some readers would be kind enough to correct me by writing in the comments. I appreciate any feedback.
My next entry will be on Shadian.

Posted by zuraidaharahman 06:24 Comments (0)

Fascinating Xi'an 2

Beginning and end of Silk Road

At the entrance of the Terra Cotta Museum with Qin Ling Mountain at the background.

At the entrance of the Terra Cotta Museum with Qin Ling Mountain at the background.

Xi'an is more known for its Terra Cotta Warriors Museum, an exciting archaeological findings of the 20 century. This is a place I have been wanting to see and glad I was able to be there on 22 Sept 2013. I was astonished to see the huge size of the archaeological excavation sites and had never expected to do a lot of walking. The huge number of tourists proved that this is THE place not to be missed in Xi'an. A Warrior hat was first found by a farmer on his farm during dry season and he reported this to the government . So excavations began in that area where they found 2200 years old clay warriors which were in different pits and they were all different. According to May, the guide, The Emperor of Qin Dynasty who unified China by standardizing the language, law, connecting roads with other small kingdoms, destroyed historical books of Confucius, ordered the clay soldiers to be made and be buried with him when he died. Even in his death he wanted to be protected. All the clay warriors stood facing the east, which indicated he had defeated the enemies from the east. The museum was set up in 1975 and became the centre of attraction for tourists.
Pit No 1 is the largest, accommodating over 6,000 life size Terra Cotta Warriors. Pit No 2, found in 1976, is about 20 meters from Pit 1. It accommodates warriors, archers, horses and chariots. Pit No 3. is for the high ranking army commanders. The tallest clay warrior found is about 1.97 cm in height. The clay for restoration of the warriors and the making of replicas is from Qing Ling mountain nearby which formed the background of the area.
Terra Cota Warriors at Pit 1

Terra Cota Warriors at Pit 1

The life size terra cotta warriors.

The life size terra cotta warriors.

Pit 3- wooden horsed and warriors standing facing each other.

Pit 3- wooden horsed and warriors standing facing each other.

Pit No 1 was packed with tourists which made it difficult to take photographs. We had to be patient and waited for a space to get a good shot when a person moved away. There were no benches to rest the feet except outside the Pits. I could not linger inside for I have to find a seat to rest my tired legs outside the pits.
The famous Kneeling Archer, the only intact clay warrior found.

The famous Kneeling Archer, the only intact clay warrior found.

It's unbelievable to see how detailed the clay warriors are, very human-like with perfect nails and toenails, eyes, eyebrows, and uniforms. The Kneeling Archer is said to be the only one clay warrior found intact. This is an awesome historical sight.
Miniature layout of Tang Palace.

Miniature layout of Tang Palace.

Trading by camels - the Silk Road at Tang Palace Ground.

Trading by camels - the Silk Road at Tang Palace Ground.

The Tang Palace Ground is another interesting place. We were treated with the first IMAX 3D film in Asia, screening the Legend of Daming Palace, a short love story of a Kang (Samarkand) Prince and a Tang Princess. The IMAX 3D makes the audience feel like being in the Tang Dynasty of 1300 years ago. I really enjoyed the movie, particularly the 3D effect. The Tang Palace ground is huge but we were lucky we could go by buggy. The miniature replica of Tang Palace Ground gave us the idea of how immense the complex was. We caught the magnificent sight of sun set that day.
Ellie, Osman and I at the high steps of Xi'an City Wall

Ellie, Osman and I at the high steps of Xi'an City Wall

Xi'an City Wall taken from the top of the wall. The wall is to protect the Palace and its ground.

Xi'an City Wall taken from the top of the wall. The wall is to protect the Palace and its ground.

Colourful cultural show at Shaanxi Grand Opera House Xi'an, China. 220913

Colourful cultural show at Shaanxi Grand Opera House Xi'an, China. 220913

P1010107

P1010107

At Big Wild Goose Pagoda.

At Big Wild Goose Pagoda.

At the Forest of Stone Tablets entrance.

At the Forest of Stone Tablets entrance.

This was a very satisfying visit with 2 other good company. We enjoyed ourselves, laughing and joking and taking in the sites. But the return journey was a nightmare. Our return tickets were a problem. The ticketing agent in Malaysia made a blunder with our return dates and Izan has to bear the brunt. Osman's return ticket was declared void whereas the two of us were OK. After a lot of hassle, Northern China Airlines finally found all three return tickets were on another computer. How come? We boarded the aircraft at the last minute. Thank Allah, we arrived at KLIA safely but was held up in the aircraft for some time because the air bridge was not working - the last hurdle of our return.

Posted by zuraidaharahman 09:30 Comments (0)

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