On Saturday, August 15, 2015 we started the adventure that we have been preparing for six months; our trip to Hong Kong. We left for Hong Kong to live and study there for no less than five months. This series of travelogues from Hong Kong consists of no less than seven parts. After these months in Hong Kong, we decided to travel through Asia for five weeks. We visited, among others. Singapore, Thailand and China. This travelogue is about our three days in Xi’an.
Arrival in Xi'an
After 3.5 days in Shanghai, we flew to Xi’an on January 14. We also wrote a travelogue about Shanghai with our experiences. We wanted to visit this city for 1 main reason; the Terracotta Army. There must have been a very flexible flight attendant aboard our flight from Shanghai to Xi’an. We had both fallen asleep, and woke up with our tables unfolded and warm food in front of us. In the aisle I can imagine that this is possible, but we had window seats, so putting the food on our tables without waking us is an impressive achievement.
The Terracotta Army
Anyway, Xi’an; this city, which is surprisingly beautiful by the way, is home to the famous Terracotta Army, which is also included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. A very impressive sight, especially when you learn about the how and why of this enormous stone army. It was again a lot colder; around zero degrees Celsius, and that was still a bit difficult as we were used to hot summer weather for 5 months while living in Hong Kong.
A special experience
However, something else unique happened that day. When we walked out of one of the mega halls with excavations of the Terracotta Army, we saw a man lying on the ground outside. The man was obviously in very bad shape because he wasn’t moving, and it became clear he was not just unconscious. There were 10 uniformed officers standing around him with their hands behind their backs, so we didn’t dare to look too close. From a great distance, it seemed as if the man was hit hard.
Astonished by the fact that no one was helping the man, we saw a higher-ranking officer approaching after a while. We assumed he would help the man, but instead he ordered the rest of the officers to grab the man by his feet and arms and carry him to an office. The man’s head hung completely back to the ground, and we began to wonder if the best man was still alive. As they walked past us it became very clear that we better not keep a camera or phone in sight, all the Chinese and other tourists also looked away. Because we also had to walk in the direction of that office, and passed it again at a later time, it became clear to us that no ambulance arrived.
Other things in Xi'an
Back to Xian, which, besides the Terracotta Army, still had a lot to offer as we mentioned earlier. The city has a large Muslim quarter with a nice night market with lots of food and specialties. It was also special to see how enormous, seemingly very expensive telescopes were displayed, allowing you to look at the moon and even stars for just a few bucks. Besides the fact that we thought it was already special that such expensive equipment, with laser guidance and all, was displayed outside, it was especially startling that they were welded on the back of scooters!
The city walls of Xi'an
Furthermore, Xi’an is a city with one of the best preserved city walls in the world! It is a very impressive wall so we cannot imagine that anyone ever tried to take the city. Not surprising in itself, if you know that it used to be the capital of China. The wall is therefore 15 meters wide and 14 kilometers long, a walk along this wall takes you about four hours.
On January 16, we traveled on to our last foreign destination of this trip, Beijing!