#11 Terracotta Army and biking on Xi’an city wall

Taking the high speed train in China, visiting the terracotta army, sleeping on the floor and the question why the children have a hole in their pants – our adventurous 3 days in Xi’an.

Terracotta warriors, found in 1974
Terracotta warriors, found in 1974

From Beijing my mum and I took the famous high speed train to Xi’an, our second stop of a three-weeks-travel through China. In opposite to 11 hours on the normal train we only drove 4 hours with a speed of 300 km/h. For me it felt almost too fast, like flying over the ground and I really needed to concentrate to look outside. It was a good experience but I have to say that I prefer the normal trains because you get to know the local people there and not the business class. In addition you save money and relax by slowly following the landscape.

For Xi’an we had an offer from a Pakistani guy from Couchsurfing who already lives in China for 4 years. When we went to his place, he had friends at home who did dinner for us – this was nice, but all in all it was a very unpleasant experience. They were smoking in the apartment and it was not really clean. In the night I slept on the floor and my mum on an uncomfortable couch – together with the guy in the small room. He slept on the big bed with two mattresses and said he will sleep until 12 the next day – meaning to us “no thanks I don’t wanna spend time with you”. The next morning we left and went to a hostel nearby. Although he said he would have offered us the bed if we had ask… We were happy to be out of there and had our breakfast in one of the crazy Chinese food streets. And then we saw a little boy with a hole in his pants:

Why do the children have these holes in their pants? We think that the parents do this because it is easier to pee everywhere and anytime they need to. And they really let their children pee everywhere! Even over a gully in the public street! We were worrying that the children get cold from this and never learn to wait for a proper toilet.

After this new cultural experience we were ready to explore the city and we really enjoyed Xi’an. From the hostel (where no one spoke English of course) it was not far to the park with the big pagoda. They had a waiter show in the fountain with nice music and the atmosphere was relaxing. In the evening we met with a Chinese man from Couchsurfing: Kai. He upgraded our stay in Xi’an a lot because he is a so friendly and positively crazy person – exceptional for Chinese! We tried some local food and went in a bar with live music afterwards. Thank you Kai for the great evening!

The next day we went to visit the Terracotta army – actually the main attraction of Xi’an. It is 30 km eastern from the city and the bus takes 1.5 h from the train station (but only costs 1 Euro). Unfortunately there is no student discount, that’s why everyone has to pay 20 Euro (150 Yuan). But of course it is worth it! We were very impressed by the huge hall with the archaeological excavations. And it was only found 30 years ago although the first emperor of China let it build more than 2000 years ago! They are still excavating the founds and restore them for the public.

After coming back to the city we went on the famous city wall of Xi’an – I would say the highlight of that old city. We could rent bicycles to ride from one gate to the other and this was really cool. In the evening we went to the Muslim street which is the most famous food street of Xi’an and it was an spectacle out of theatre shows, food stands and many many people.

See you next time with Pandas in Chengdu!

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