Nǐhǎo from Xi’an, China

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Flying out of Jiuzhaigou was incredible, seeing the mountain peaks pushing their way through the blanket of clouds below and all the way out to the horizon. Luckily our flight was a short one arriving into Xi’an around 11am. We grabbed a transfer bus from the airport into the centre of Xi’an, and had worked out the relevant directions to our hostel based on their description online. Well a short 10minute walk turned into a 2hour hike around Xi’an as we wandered aimlessly with a map in hand trying to figure out where in god’s name we were going. The centre is divided into 4 main streets converging at a huge Bell Tower in the middle of a roundabout. To cross streets you had to go underground to the circular passageways underneath the Bell Tower and take the correct exit out onto whatever main street you were looking for. Easier said than done as the circular underpass caused complete bearing malfunction as the exits are all in Chinese apart from the goading sign saying ‘Welcome to Xi’an’. After 1hour 45 minutes of infuriating trial and error we finally found someone who knew where we were going. We were always only 10minutes from our hostel but we bloody made it in the end.

With only 2 days to spare in Xi’an (as we were advised that the Terracotta Warriors were the main reason to go (although I wish we actually spent longer in hindsight)) we chilled the first day exploring the city with plans to check out the Terracotta Warriors the following day. Xi’an city seems like a cool city, pretty lively as per usual, and another shoppers paradise. We wandered into the Muslim section of the city to check out the street foods and halal restaurants. This place was pretty awesome. A real mix of cultures blended into a network of small streets offering all types of food, bar pork of course, with street food vendors erupting huge flames from woks and furnaces. I experimented with some camera settings and managed to snap some shots I’m quite happy with. The hustle and bustle of these streets was infectious as we were swept along with the masses of people and rickshaws.

The next morning we set off around 6.30am to make it to the Terracotta Warriors, again in an attempt to beat the crowds. After plenty of research we were informed to get a train to the North station and from there get the 306 bus to the Warriors. Escaping the rain we eventually made it to the train station, got our tickets and headed straight for the North Station. We arrived with not one problem and it was only about 7.15am. Sweet.

One problem…no bus. We walked around looking for signs. Nothing. We asked a few people. Nothing. Eventually a woman behind the ticket counter explained in very broken English we have to get bus 206 to the ‘old station’…This north station we were at was a brand new station. the Old Station, also known as north xian station wasn’t accessible by trains from the station we were in. Great. So out into torrential rain looking for bus 206. We attempted a taxi but the woman had no clue what Terracotta Warriors was, and kept speaking loudly at us the same sentence over and over. Funnily enough, the louder she got and the more she pointed into the distance, we STILL didn’t understand. Eventually we gave up and grabbed a 206 but not knowing where we were going we jumped off again at tried talking to locals again. Nothing. No one in Xi’an has heard of their most famous attraction referred to as Terracotta Warriors. Fair enough. A nice girl at the next bus stop understood a little and flagged a cab for us and explained. We got in. Then this asshole driver decides to rip us off quoting a crazy price. So out we get again into the pissing rain and jumped onto another 206 bus. Eventually a girl got on who explained we had to get a bus to the end stop, about 45 minutes away. Finally an answer. We arrive at the correct station now and back out into torrential rain again. Honestly the ground is about an inch deep. After 15minutes walking around we find the frigging bus and have to wait in a long ass queue, soaked to the bones. After another 2hours on a bus we finally make it to the fecking Warriors, AFTER the crowds.

Then it’s another queue to get our tickets. I showed my driving licence and managed to blag a student pass. I figured if they don’t understand Terracotta warriors, then I’m pretty sure the words ‘Driving Licence’ would also be lost on them. It was. Another long badly directed walk in pissing rain brought us to the next turn style to stand in a queue again to get our to tickets checked. Then ANOTHER 10minute walk to the god damn museum. FINALLY INSIDE, the marble floors are a complete swimming pool of brown water. This huge airport style hangar housed the 2000 or so warriors, with a walkway all around them. Ultimately was it worth it? Was it bollox.

Okay, that’s a little harsh but truthfully, had we had a simple journey to place without rain, it still would have underwhelmed. The history and discovery of these statues is incredible, as is the detail and how well preserved they are, but all in all it’s a huge warehouse of statues, and after seeing the odd few hundred you’re done. We also had to keep going outside back into the downpour just to make it to the next museum of statues. Eventually we had enough and made the arduous journey back, which surprisingly was simple enough. It was still raining well into the night. I swear to Christ, being from Ireland and not seeing rain for nearly 2 and a half months made us think it would be nice to see some. NOPE! Rant aside, I do think they are worth seeing if you find yourself in Xi’an,just to tick that box, but personally I think they are not sole reason to visit China, iuless you are a statue enthusiast. Xi’an city on the otherhand does deserve a visit.

The next morning we managed a simple and successful journey to the airport to fly to Shenzhen, on route to visit a great friend of mine, Liao ‘Charlie’ Sun.

2 Comments
  1. Hey, no friggin, rain, complicated bus routes, or annoying queues, sitting comfortably with a glass a vino, watching the Terracota Warriors on channel 4 More, Awesome show!!

  2. Hi Paul & Ve you really do seem to go round in circles… . are the broken warriors the result of your frustration??? :( .ha ha ..
    Well at least you have seen them … your pictures will do me here on the computer where i am nice and dry!!

    Hugs Mum & Dad xxxxx

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