This was great fun - Mountain Biking, Kayaking and Hiking. Plus we went on horse carts and did some archery. When mountain biking you have to look out for big rocks and dead animal carcases!!
Mongolia is amazing - really amazing. The vast grass lands are called steppes. There are lots of mountains, rivers and where we went in the east not so many forests.
Another very exciting day out this time to visit some not so well known things, once again our taxi came to pick us up at 10:00am and we were off straight away. First stop the Grottos - they are caves and at this particular place are filled with big Buddha sculptures and there are 39 caves with carvings, sculptures and temples. They were built over 1500 years ago. Each cave has about four big sculptures and lots of little ones surrounding them. When we went there it was freezing cold and pouring down rain so we all had coats on and had borrowed umbrellas from our driver. There was also a big track leading up to them which was dirt so it was just a big muddy slosh and all our new shoes got dirty. There was also puddles everywhere and I fell in one of them on the way back to the car. All in all though they were truly amazing things. When we were back in the car we started driving to the suspended (anging) temple it - was built 1400 years ago and somehow it still stands. It was a little scary to climb up as it was only held in place by some shabby old bits of wood balancing on a clifface but even so we climbed up it until we reached the top and then we climbed around inside it. The rain had stopped by know but it was still very cold outside and was not the perfect day to be sightseeing at all but we all enjoyed it a lot.
We arrived in Datong by train from Xian, it took about 15 hours. We reached Datong at approximately 2:30pm and after a ride in a cellotape made taxi we arrived at our hotel.
We checked into our room and for the rest of the day were just resting. It was the next day that was very exciting as at 10:30am a car came for us to take us to the Great Wall of China, we left at about 11:00am to go to the first site of where we would see one of Chinas many beauty’s. When we got to the great wall we drove through these big gates and once we were through them our driver parked the car. We walked around the great beauty ourselves, at the first site we also saw lots of little houses made of muddy clay it was kind of like a little village and there was lots of people around. One man we came across said hello in mandarin to us and then was speechless for words so we just walked off, him still grinning at us. We looked at the wall as well as climbing it and walking through it. In fact there was one part where you had to climb up this steep hill (made of that clay stuff) and then you were on top of the wall. Only we think the first site was a fort for the great wall but anyway back in the car and off to site two - it was amazing!!! We climbed a lot there and there was even this one hill which only my dad climbed as it was too steep. There was also many that all of us climbed and being there reminded me of when we were traveling through outback Australia. The Great Wall of China was very fun and being there made me very happy. It was about an hours drive back to the center of Datong, which by the way has 3 million people in it - that is more than all the people in Mongolia where we are off to next.
A few pictures from China - in the next three days we will see the Terracotta Warriors and the Great Wall before heading to Mongolia!
Laos used to be known as the land of a Million Elephants. Now as little as 1600 remain and about 560 of them work in the forest harvesting timber.
In the 1970s during the Vietnam war Lao was heavily bombed by America and even today farmers and scrap collectors will pick up a UXO bomb and it will explode. Often children thinkthey are toys and pick them up to play with, this can result in serious injury or even death. In the Laos' capital Vientiane they have set up a permanent exhibition which raises money for people who have lost limbs and makes them an artificial one. People now use UXO bombs in day to day life and if you look into a traditional Laos house almost all the metal is a form of bomb.
Laos is one of the least populated countries in Asia with approximatley 5,622,000 people living there in August 2007 and a third of them lived in cities like Vientiane, Luang Prabang, Savannakhet and Pakse. The Laos' word for hello is 'Sabai Dee' and thankyou is 'Cop Chai'.
One of Laos' main tourist attractions are the Plains of Jars there are 3 sites of them and no one knows why they are there. If you are looking at the Plains of Jars you have to be cereful of UXOs and there are markers indicating where you can go. The Plains of Jars are located in Phonsovanh. Another of Laos' tourist attractions is That Dam Stupa, it was built to stop the Siameese invading in the 1820s but when they did. That Dam Stupa was blamed. Nowaday no one looks after it anymore and what was once coated in a layer of gold is now black and covered in moss.
Molly: Hi guys, it's me, hope year 5 is treating you well!! My teachers this year are a real drag!! Mum and Dad; boring! I know you won't have that problem at Batemans Bay Public School.........!!!??!!