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Smoggy Hell

Xi'an Travel Blog

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On the drive into Xian - 3.30pm!! It should be light

The plane lands in a grey twilight and I check my watch, something is wrong; the watch says 3pm the sky say 6pm. A dull grey sadness covers what is described by many as the most important city in China's history. Xi'an, the home of the world famous terracotta warriors. The air is choking and I hurry across the tarmac to the airport bus which whisks me over to the terminal and I am relieved to be in an air-conditioned environment for the first time in a long time.

My luggage apprears with usual Chinese efficiency (broken and dirty) and I wheel my crippled luggage out, past the hawkers and taxi drivers trying to buck the system. I get a taxi into town (a 1 hour ordeal through smoke choked streets) where I am overcharged and dumped outside the Sofitel Hotel.

The hotel is a dream - clean, cool and pollution free! I am amazed - hardened as I am against the environmental damage the Chinese have bestowed upon their country in their headlong sprint for wealth, the damage in Xi'an is brutal. The buildings are grey and brown with staining, the light is filtered through a grey haze that casts a hellish light all around. My plan was to undertake my work and then head out to the Teracotta Warriors - a 1 hour journey away, but I was advised that one of the pits was closed as the roof was leaking and I was going to be charged 400RMB to go. The cloying, sulphurous stench of the air also made me change my mind. I simply stayed in the hotel, did some work and waited to depart. This is not normal for me. I like to get out and explore the streets, see the sights and experience the sounds of a city. In Xian - I just wanted to leave.

alixy says:
oh no this sounds terrible i'm off to Xi'an in August and hope i have a better experience or it will be a large disapointment.
Posted on: Mar 12, 2008
sylviandavid says:
Oh my goodness! We were there in May 2007: apparently sometime near a rainfall. It was smoggy as were all cities we visited... What a terrible time you had. Judging from the Photograph...through no fault of yours... One wonders how much harm you could do to your lungs if you did venture out and breathe/injest the air.... At some point the Chinese are going to need to look at what they are doing to their environment as they will have sick and damaged citizens from the exposure to air/chemicals. I am going to write your motel name down.... ours was not so wonderful.... sylvia
Posted on: Feb 12, 2008
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On the drive into Xian - 3.30pm!! …
On the drive into Xian - 3.30pm!!…
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photo by: Deats