Dec 182008

After the Terracotta Army and Huashan hike, Andy and I had only a few things left to see in Xi’an:

The Bell Tower, rung at dawn to mark sunrise in the 14th century; …

The Drum Tower, its alter-ego used to mark nightfall; …

And musical performances at each, held numerous times daily.

The music itself was quite well-done, unfortunately the showmanship left a LOT to be desired. Most of the performers looked like they were about ready to kill themselves and CERTAINLY did not want to be up there in front of a crowd.

Next we spent some time wandering around the Muslim quarter, which was extremely interesting:

The backstreets leading north from the Drum Tower have been home to the city’s Hui community (Chinese Muslims) for centuries…The narrow lanes are full of butcher shops, sesame-oil factories, smaller mosques hidden behind enormous wooden doors and proud, stringy-bearded men wearing white skullcaps.

I had no idea there was such a large Muslim population in China.

We also dropped by the Great Mosque, supposedly the largest in the country and a “fascinating blend of Chinese and Islamic architecture.” From what we could tell, apart from the main prayer hall, it was pretty much the same as most Chinese temples we’d seen – but EXTREMELY unmaintained.

Finally, Andy wrapped the day up getting the knots rubbed out of his calves at a nearby bathhouse while I headed over to the Big Goose Pagoda – Xi’an’s most famous landmark – for the daily water-and-music show.

It was pretty cool, reminding me in many ways of the fountain show at the Bellagio in Las Vegas.

And there you have it: all of our planned Xi’an attractions in just two ultra-efficient days! 🙂

  6 Responses to “Xi’an”

  1. That pic of the “safety equipment” is AWESOME!

  2. Addendum:

    You might remember my post about how useful it was to have an ISIC card while traveling in Egypt: most tourist attractions offered massive discounts, although they were shockingly strict about proper use of the card (checking multiple times at both the points of sale and of entrance).

    China wasn’t quite so strict.

    Since Andy didn’t have one, I loaned him my PADI certification card instead. Just for the sake of trying.

    It was accepted every single time as a student card. Even though it had my name and photo on it, and even though he used it about three seconds before I used mine. If you hadn’t noticed, Andy and I look pretty much nothing alike. Except for the fact that we’re both Caucasian.

    But I guess that’s enough in China! 😆

  3. Hehehe….I am Justin 🙂

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