When you think about traveling around China there are basically two things that come to mind, pandas and terracotta warriors. We checked box number one pretty early on in our Month of Travels (if you missed it you can check out those lovable goofballs HERE). It only makes sense that as we near the end of our trip we check box number two. So, off we flew from the west on our way to Xi'an in Shaanxi province [MAP]. Xi'an has a ton of history, it was the capital of a number of dynasties and has one of the coolest walls outside of the Great Wall. Xi'an also has a population of roughly 8,600,000 so there is some stuff going on.
I think I mentioned early on that I love food, what with it being the best thing and all, and Xi'an just so happens to be the birthplace of my favorite type of street food rou jia mo [row-jya-muh]. Its nickname, the Chinese hamburger, doesn't really do it justice, it isn't really like a hamburger at all. If you are familiar with what an arepa is think that but stuffed with stewed salty delicious pork. If you have no idea what I'm talking about google it then fly to China and get one (also there might be a photo of one later on). Naturally the first thing we did after settling in was walk around until we found one. I ate it in about three bites (totally worth it) then we went back to the apartment we were renting for a few days and crashed.
We awoke the next day and set out on a mission of trying to figure out how to get on a bus to the terracotta warriors. Once we figured that out we rode for a while until we got to a place where the bus dropped us off and we were on another mission to figure out how to navigate the parking lots, vendors and hoards of tourists to get to a place to buy tickets. Rinse, repeat with a new goal of finding the entrance. Fortunately there were vendors selling rou jia mo so our (my) spirits were high.
Most places you go there are tons of people offering their services as a guide and almost always we declined those services. This seemed like a bit of a different situation because neither of us really knew much about the history of this site so we hired a woman to walk through with us and tell us all about it. I think it was totally worth it from a historical and educational standpoint. From a crowds standpoint there isn't really much you can do about that so we just went with the flow. I've been talking a lot so here are the photos of the warriors.
After the warriors, we bussed back to town and explored a bit but we were tired so we went home and took a nap. Rejuvenated, we set off in search of another food item that Xi'an is famous for, biang biang mian [byang byang mē-en]. The character for biang is so complex that computers can't even display it but that isn't what makes the noodles so good. The muslim quarter is apparently where the best biang biang mian are so that's where we went. This area is also famous for its night market and just so happens to be right next to the drum tower which is spectacular at night. After dinner we walked around and tried to capture the beautiful chaos.
Would you like a side of cigarette ash with your mutton?
This is the famous rou jia mo in action. This version uses lamb but you can see him chopping the meat and is about to stuff it into a bun in his left hand.
More yummy streetfood treats!
Rolex! Got your Rolex here!
Xi'an drum tower
Strings of kites flying up past the Drum Tower
We decided to call it a night because the next day we were catching a train to the town of Huashan at the foot of the famous Mount Huashan but that is for another day.
Until the next time, Ian
If you missed any of the previous installments of this series, you can find them all HERE.
Also, some of these are for sale, check it out HERE and let me know if you are interested in anything and can't find it by contacting me through the website.