Today was a day of museums, pagodas, and street-walking in South Xi’an. I started at the Shaanxi History Museum, which, although small, has one of the best collections in all of China. And, unlike the massive, unwieldy National Museum in Beijing, you can actually make it through the collection in an easy hour or two. One thing that also makes museums in China efficient and straightforward is that they are always arranged chronologically. You just walk through all of the dynasties, room-by-room. I for one find this nice.
After Shaanxi, I strolled the streets towards the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda, which is maybe 3 or 4 blocks away. I have really come to enjoy just walking and observing what goes on in the streets. You can really get a sense for a place this way, and how people live on a daily basis. Once at the Goose Pagoda, I wandered around the complex, especially admiring its great pagoda. This is the first one I have seen so far in China, and I am learning that the pagoda style mimics what travelers in ancient China saw in India when they themselves traveled. They brought this back, along with Buddhism, which you also see a lot of in Xi’an. This makes sense, since it is best known as being a cultural crossroad.
From the Wild Goose, a long walk brought me back to my hotel, and I took in some great street scenes along the way, especially traffic navigation. It looks and sounds insane and crazy, but there truly is a method to the madness, and is almost hypnotic to watch. It all somehow works out.
My final stop was the Small Wild Goose Pagoda, and the attached Xi’an Museum. No joke, there really is a Small and Giant Wild Goose Pagoda! And this one, although smaller, I think is the best of two. It is far quainter and quieter, and the museum is great. It has some excellent statues of Buddha that are not sealed off behind glass. You can really get up close and stare.
So ends my last day in Xi’an, and tomorrow I fly off for the last leg of this trip in Shanghai.