Xi’an Day 1

Continued from Tibet Day 4.

Our guide and our driver picked us up this morning to head to the airport.

Goodbye Potala Palace! You are truly a beautiful building.

They take security very seriously at this airport. Everyone goes through a very very diligent screening process.

Some liquid breakfast. Excited to leave here for a place with more oxygen!!

Our bird.

Sweet, emergency row again!

Contrary to common belief, it is not the 15 year old American princess who takes the most selfies, but the 55 year old Chinese nouveau riche who takes the most selfies. The man sitting in front of us must have taken 25 selfies in a span of 10 minutes. Later on, we suspected that he was trying to take spy photos of the stewardess…Creep!

Ohhh, downgraded. A bit before taking off, our stewardess came by and decided that we couldn’t sit in the emergency row since RL didn’t speak Mandarin…This made no sense at all, because she understood how the door works, as did I etc. Sigh, no point in arguing.

Very strange. There was a sliver of very dark cloud in the sky, with all other clouds being white. Odd. Pollution?

It’s odd to get into an airplane and be able to breath easier than we have for the past 5 days. It typically works the other way around since airplanes are only partially pressurized.

Lunch is being served. This airline is based in Sichuan, a region in China known for eating very spicy food. The food cart had a jar of hot sauce for any customers who needed more heat.

Chicken curry. Yum.

As we started our descent, they played a video clip on exercises passengers should do to loosen up. Half of the exercises required that you move your arms about…so that you’d smack your fellow passengers sitting next to you. Needless to say, no one followed this useless video.

RL’s shades that she got for cheap a couple of days ago.

It is very foggy here in Xi’an.

This is a very big city. The airport was giant. OMG, we can breath!!! OXYGEN!!!

I am sure the effects are just as ambiguous as the description.

Look at all these baggage claims!

Our bags made it fine and dandy. Now time to find a taxi.

Going by the meter. I hope he doesn’t rip us off. This is definitely the most modern city that we’ve visited here in China so far.

Nuclear power plant?

Very soon, it became apparent that this is also the ugliest city we’ve visited in China. Wait, scratch that, this is the ugliest city that we may have visited, ever.

A city that consists of blocks and blocks of grey highrise apartments with huge non-walk friendly streets. This would be my nightmare place to live in.

Seriously, how do all those people in those highrises get around? There aren’t that many mopeds, cars, or buses around here. Do they just stay holed up in their building all day long?

Yeah, seriously, this is what the majority of the city looks like. It’s even uglier than Houston!!

About to pass the old city walls, hopefully things will look better on the other side.

Into the inner city we go.

Still ugly. Sigh.

Reached our hotel. One of several Jinjiang Inn that we’ll be staying at in China. It’s a chain of business hotels known for their economical price and simplicity.

It took us forever to check in, but this will work just fine. This is what $32 a night gets you inside the old city walls of Xi’an. We kinda like it.

No fuss, clean, and everything works.

OMG, we are walking around and we are not dying from being out of breathe! We can walk as much as we want and there are no headaches. This is awesome!

This city sucks! It’s not made for walking! The quality of this walk sucks, the streets are too wide, there is no shading, and the shops lining the walk sucks too. And this is supposed to be the better part of town too. Boo!

Hate this city already.

Stinky tofu.

One of the major sites of Xi’an, the bell tower in the middle of the walled city. It’s just ok.

The streets here are so sprawled out that sometimes the only way to get across is to use an underground crosswalk.

Look, Starbucks! A slice of America! Fuck Yeah!

Of course, better food than US Starbucks.

Green tea cheese cake with red bean crust. How fascinating! It was pretty good.

A little bit away from the Bell Tower is this Drum Tower. Also meh.

Next to the Drum Tower is the Muslim Quarter. Finally, a place with walkable streets and more character.

I wonder if this place kept it’s character because when they razed down the whole city for master planning decades ago, they ignored the Muslims. If so, oh the irony.

Lots of yogurt here.

They are making some sort of food, I think it’s a dessert of some sort.

Osmanthus cake I believe.

Starving, let’s give this place a try.

Lamb soup dumplings. Pretty good, but not nearly as good as Din Tai Fung.


How interesting, dried sweet kiwis! We had to get some to try.

Did not expect them to be cream filled…not quite as good as we had hoped.

This open flame would be deemed a safety hazard in the US.

Ewww…old dry liver. Gross. Do people actually eat this without dying?

Just married.

Look at that super hot flame! Burn Baby Burn!

OK, this is really gross. Half of that liver is actually dry cracked and moldy. Ewwwww.

Super hot wok. I bet the food from that wok tastes super good.

A wanna be Mini Cooper Chinese car. They even tried to copy the wheels!

One of those shaking platform things. I don’t know what it does, but I am sure it’s ineffective.

This is what they have at Pizza Hut here.

Ahhh, a giant mall. They have nothing but apparel shops here in central Xi’an. Yawn. There aren’t even that many restaurants here. I guess when you spend all of your money on clothes, you don’t spend what little you have to eat to get fat so you can’t fit into your clothes. But seriously, RL notices that people in China are a little fatter than she had imagined. China is definitely the fattest country that we’ve visited so far on this trip…Don’t worry America, China won’t catch up to our belt lines anytime soon.

Hard to see, but a mother and her little boy. We saw many little boys wearing bottomless pants here. Seriously? Why bottomless pants? So they can go number 2 easier? How hard is it to have a flap? Isn’t that not very sanitary for them to sit ass naked all over town? The little girls had regular pants.

Ah yes, let’s ask the tourist info center where all the bars are located.

Surprisingly, they were actually very helpful. About 10 minutes walk away, there is a bar street.

RL took this photo, which we later realized is a smelly public restroom.

The bar street has no activity tonight. It’s 6pm on Sunday.

It’s not as exciting drinking on such an empty street. One drink, and we are done. Xi’an is a very large place and we’ve already done a lot of walking today.

Went to stock up on snacks and water and found this. Don’t think we’ll be eating worms as snacks. The convenience stores here in Xi’an are mediocre. Miss 7 Elevens in Taiwan.

Looks interesting, I am going to eat it.

The Drum Tower lit up at night.

The first American truck we’ve seen in over a month.

Vendors selling really really long kites. I think it’s actually many sets tied together.

We got a huge 4 liter water bottle at the convenience store a while ago…now we are having to carry it around…ugh, bought it prematurely since we thought we were done walking.

They also had guys flying these giant remote controlled airplanes here, just like in Yangshuo. I wonder what their business model is? Do they let people fly them for a fee?

Bell Tower lit up at night. OK, it’s time to get back home for the night.

Me and Miss Piggy.

Our shampoo bottle(the original bottle sprung a leak) showing the extremely thin air in Lhasa.

My stomach would end up cramped all night long….sigh. Why???!!!!!

To be continued at Xi’an Day 2.

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