Xi'an Travel Blog› entry 6 of 8 › view all entries
Xi'an is a much bigger city than I expected (as is the rest of everything in China...just all bigger than the China in my mind). Spent the first day checking out the sights: catching musical performances at the Bell Tower and Drum Tower in the center of town, and shopping/grabbing some street food in the Muslim Quarter. Again, I just queued up where all the Chinese queued up...watched what they were making and it's usually the best way to eat. I had some kind of white cake that I assumed was glutinous rice (later found out it was made from water chestnut flour) coated in some brown goop, 2 sticks shoved in the bottom and coated in two kinds of powder. Don't know what the hell it was, but it was slightly sweet and had a slightly flowery flavor.
There's an absolutely gorgeous mosque in the middle of the Muslim Quarter, so I spent a load of time taking photos there, and then shopping in the bazaar...bought a couple of leather shadow puppets and some silk stuff and met Jackie for dinner. We had some local specialties including whole shrimp w/chili on a stick, a delicious eggplant dish, and caramelized sweet potato (crunchy on the outside and delish...but pretty much dessert).
We met a couple of backpackers wandering around trying to figure out what street food to eat...Jackie was helping these 2 British brothers figure out all the food (one of them was a bit picky), and we wound up bundling them into a taxi and taking them to the Muslim Quarter where there were more choices.
I went back to the hostel's pub with the guys and met about 6 other backpackers and went pub/club-hopping, swapping travel stories. The pubs were fun, but the clubs were mostly dead playing crappy loud house music so I left at 2am.
The next day I went to see the Terracotta Warriors just outside of town. 3 excavated pits are open to the public - fascinating in that all the statues are different.
Apparently Bill Clinton and his family visited there in the 90's and made quite a stir.
I spent the afternoon getting completely lost on "Calligraphy Street" - full of folks doing calligraphy and paintings, and selling all kinds of stuff (but less aggressively than the Muslim Quarter.
Missed taking a bike ride on the city walls...it was just too freakin' hot and humid, and seemed like a loooong way around. Air pollution is pretty bad in Xi'an as well...about as bad as Beijing right now. On to Yangshuo...