Rach says it reminds her of Vegas but there are: no casinos, no strip clubs, no miniature models of places around the world, and no 1000 degree weather at night.
I call it the city of love because: I love it. That’s it. It’s nothing like Paris buuuut There is a light and music show projected on the city wall every night, multiple pagoda style buildings, a super cool city wall, and its just so charming.
We arrived Friday night at around 10 and I honestly expected it to be a small, dead town where people only went to see the terra-cotta warriors. I was dumb to believe that because we exited the metro station to see a light show, people selling light-up balloons, and a man with a turtle. The turtle was just lying on its back, moving it’s neck. He had some lettuce right in front of it that he obviously couldn’t reach and he didn’t have a hat out for money so I have no idea why he was doing that to the turtle. But every single time we walked passed that very place, he was there, with his upside down turtle and lettuce.
We checked into our hostel and I think I just want to move in and live there forever?
It’s beautiful, there are TWO CATS and a guitar and a restaurant and the ceiling is open but there are branches and leaves strung across the roof area and there’s even a bar underneath it. It’s called a “terra-cotta warrior themed bar” and we thought that sounded cool so we went to just check it out and there was one (1) imitation statue of a warrior and nothing else. I may have missed the other decor, though, because I took two steps in and was assaulted by the stench of smoke and alcohol and had to turn around immediately.
We woke up the next day and went to see the terra-cotta warriors!!! Chelsea and I get super bored on tours, but the other girls really wanted a tour guide, so we split up and Chelsea and I went to look on our own while the other girls took a guide. Part of our DIY tour was sitting in the pit 3 area while reading Wikipedia about the history of it all. Very informative. Can you imagine just digging a well on your farm one day and discovering a whole underground clay army from centuries ago? I’m shook they’ve only known about this for the past 40 years. Also being the archaeologists who get to uncover and restore them? Neato.
On their tour, the other girls got to meet one of the farmers who discovered the warriors, so that’s cool. Definitely missed out there. But they also got taken to a jade museum where they got talked into buying some /super/ pricey jade (because Xi’an is like the jade capital of the China?) and I am not jealous of that. (Note: they are happy with their purchases and that is awesome for them. I’ve just read a ton of posts and reviews and looked up prices elsewhere and it all sounds sketchy to me, so if you ever go to Xi’an, be aware of that.)
While they were on their 4 hour tour, we were bargaining in the shops. Chelsea is an amazing bargainer. I’ve decided I’m not buying anything unless she buys it because I know she’ll never stop bargaining it down until it’s the lowest it will possibly go. You would not believe her skills. Like the jade rings we got? (might be fake, but they withstood all the tests. Also who has to know it’s fake?) 80 yuan down to 5 yuan. (You could say “there’s no way it was real if they sold them to you for 5 yuan” and maybe that’s true, but if jade really is that common there (the mountain is just filled with it) then is it really that rare and precious? Just a thought.)
I got a little terra-cotta figurine and the lady told me it was handmade (in contrast to the machine made ones right next to it.) I don’t know what the originally price was but she gave it to me for 10 yuan. Rach bought one on her tour and it was a little bigger but it looked exactly the same and she paid ten times what I did. They told her it was made with the same clay as the actual warriors and that it was different than the ones sold out in the markets because those ones will disappear if you put them in water (???? Who is putting them in water???)
I say: it will literally sit on a shelf as a reminder of the day I rode a bus for an hour out to a random place to look at a pit filled with many clay men. I have no doubt that both hers and mine were made the same way and I honestly can just tell myself it was made from the same clay and feel great in my ignorance.
Tour guides are swindlers, man. But they have good stories sometimes.
That night we went to the drum and bell towers and there was a place where they had fresh cut fruit and they gave you a big plastic bowl and said you could fill it 2 kilo for 34 yuan. I just wanna say it was too expensive but it was freakin delicious and I’d do it again.
The next day we biked the city wall. Xi’an is the only city who’s wall has remained completely in tact. It was a really cool ride but they give you racer bikes and all I wanted was a cute basket and handlebars that were higher than the seat. It was really bumpy and I’m surprised my glasses stayed on the whole time. I really wanted to bike it at golden hour (like right before the sun set) because I hear that’s the most beautiful, but it was ok this way, too. If I could do it again, though, I’d do golden hour all the way.
Leaving the hostel was probably the hardest part of leaving the city? But it was a dope place. Could definitely spend longer there. I love that everywhere you go in China, there is dancing when the sun goes down. We walked the Main Street last night and every ten meters there was a different group with a giant speaker, blasting music and dancing. One of these days, I’m joining them.
Until then, catch me in Beijing. ✌️