September 03, 2006

Xi'an impressions

The city needs a new station and a subway system. If those two things could be fixed a lot of the traffic problems would disappear and that would make the city very livable.

Because besides the crappy traffic it seems to have much of everything else: big city facilities, culture, history, good shopping (not in my European size, obviously), diverse population, a not-too-weird approach to tall blonde foreigners and an interesting countryside.

Supposedly the city is hot and dry in summer. The three days that I was there it was wet and sticky. Unfortunate, because the grey skies are kind of starting to get to me.

Besides the world famous terra cotta warriors, I was positively surprised to find that there's much more to see in the town. The city has restored its city walls, so I rode a bicycle across them. The drum tower in the middle of the city center has lots and lots of drums on display, so again I was pretty happy. The touts at the warriors aren't half as agressive as in Beijing, although the Muslim quarter makes up for that. But! The Muslim quarter has great streetfood. And in hindsight, I would have liked to do another trip out of the city to see some of the other tombs as well.

All in all, good weekend. Much nicer city than Beijing in my opinion.

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