30 hours in Xi’an

Update: Now with some more detail.

When I finally made it to Xi’an (flight last night was canceled, stayed in airport hotel in Beijing, and then got here at 8am this morning), I quickly made my way around the sights.

I visited the Terracotta Army (incredible, mostly in quantity), the Muslim Quarter (delicious food – Chinese “pizza” and zongzi), and biked around the City Wall at sunset (13.7 km, or 8.5 mi, long). So much fun! Off to Hangzhou tomorrow.

Highlights

  • Being whisked past all the lines by the tour guide I hired to see the Terracotta Army. Well, really just cutting all the lines as her insistence. Pretty awesome. Definitely worth the $15 for the two-hour tour she tried to give in English.
  • Making friends with the owner of a sidewalk stall of his wife’s artwork. He worked in government for 19 years only to be fired when he had his second daughter (illegal here). He wants to move to San Francisco, get a green card (feasible within 5 years, he said), and bring his family over to the US. He also said all the jade (popular in Xi’an) sold at the street stalls is crap imitation, mostly glass. No surprise there.
  • Being asked by the manager of the steamed cold noodle place (also popular in Xi’an) to translate some of the items on the menu to English
  • Continuing my tradition of pretending to be a wedding photographer when I saw a shoot going down on the City Wall. The tradition started at least in Luxor, Egypt, if not before. Off the bike I went to snap away. For a short while, only.

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