Xi'an and Beijing, tale of two capitals
Xi'an Travel Blog› entry 8 of 14 › view all entries
Xi'an seems like the typical chinese metropolitan without any Olympic makeup. it is noisy, crowded and dirty. walking a 100 meters in the muslim quarter will give you 5 butcher shops and 20 different smells, which include things like roasted wallnuts from a vendor, sesame oil from a sesame oil mill, garbage and even some unidentifiable street food.
the flower/fish/frog/bird market gives you everything from plastic looking baby frogs, colorful singing birds crammed into small cages, turtles to various new/old, useable/useable electronics. there are also street dentists that offer full dental services with a table, a chair and some tools meant for automobiles.
the night of 9/14 was the traditional lunar festival in China. at the giant goose pagoda, thousands people gather in the evening, sitting around, taking pictures and just "chilling".
the Terracotta army was impressive. housed in an easily football sized stadium, rows and rows of clay soldiers are still standing still after 2000 years. the strangest thing was that, even though the empiror's tomb is said to be even more impressive then the terracotta army, or any other ancient chinese tomb for that matter, it is still a just a green mound and has not been excavated. the tour guide does not seem to be able to explain why. the reason she told the foreign tourists was that the mecury river inside the tomb is fatal for people who enter the tomb. this seems a bit far stretched. maybe the real reason is that the hype of how grand and luxurious the tomb is has been built up too high and people do not want to be disppointed? or the local people are superstitious enough or fearful enough so that they just want to leave the things as it is?
more photos at http://www.zenfolio.com/michaelzuo/p489639473