So Xi'an is a "mid-sized city", which in Chinese standards means 8 million people. I have liked it better than Beijing, even though its dirtier, poorer and more run down, but there is a lot of character to it. On our first day here, we went to their city wall (aparently the emperor's LOVE building walls) and rented some bikes and biked around the entire place. It was great because we were ON TOP of the wall, so there were no cars and hardly any people because there is an entrance fee. I had not been on a bike for over 10 years, but I redeemed myself from the "lazy fat american) and finished second. Then we just walked around the city and hung out.
Going out in China is very cheap. Every night at around 6:30 the entire group eats dinner together. We meet in the lobby and the guide picks a place where we can all sit together. We eat everything with chopsticks (which I kick-ass in now!) and the guide orders 15 dishes so we can try different things and share everything. We all get a coke or a beer and the meal is about 4 dollars. LOVE IT. So far I have tasted yummy things, but I hate to admit that I like American style chinese better. hahaha. Also, people love Peach flavorings. I have seen Peach Fanta, peach sundaes and peach vitamin water.
The best thing about Xi'an were the Terracota warriors. Now, this tour is supposed to give you "maximum flexibility" so not all excursions are included. For example, the Wall part was included so I didn't pay extra. The TC warriors weren't so the group decides
A. who is going to go
B. If we want to get a "local guide" or not and
C. if we are going to go by public bus or on a private bus
This time we chose B and C. Turns out we got jipped! The private bus was great, because it was raining and the public buses here make the 80 bus in DC look like the freaking pope mobile. But our local tour guide was a total rip off! She literally told us a quick joke about Bill Clinton (apparently beloved by many Chinese-inlcuding myself :)) and then she walked us to the place and blatantly dissappeared. We were all pissed. Granted, she was very cheap (200 roughly 30 bucks) but still! We could have done the thing ourselves. Since our regular tour guide, Bing, was the one that arranged this we decided to talk to him about it-more on this later.
The Warriors were amazing. I just can't believe how they just found them out of nowhere in 1974. That is crazy. And there are so many of them! Thousands and thousands and they are all different. So the experience was very cool. I was able to tailgate a Spanish speaking tour full and get some more info.
So after all this, we went back to the city, did the internet thing and did a little shopping. Some people had to do laundry (not me thanks to Simon and Lydia!) and when they went to pick it up it turns out that all the girls' racy underwear was stolen!! HAHAHAHAHA they did not return any thongs or lacy panties or bras. All the girls were SOOO angry that people started planning a coup against our leader. Poor guy!! So we went to dinner without him and of course we got SUPER RIPPED OFF. First, they told us all the cold beer was gone, so people had to drinkwarm beer. Mind you it was the same place and same beer we had had the day before. Then we see the lady giving out cold beer to other patrons! Then when they bring our bill, they charged us TRIPLE of what we had paid the day before. There is NO white privilege in china. We argued with the owners but got nowherwe and I guess some people called our guide up and he showed up and just laughed. The when people yelled at him about the lost panties he told them to call the police! HAHAHAHAHA. Im' like WHY did you bring your fancy undies? DBs? Mine are all target brand granny kind.
Anyway, the main reason I love Xi'an is the street noodles. They don't have them all the time, but in the evening, people open this cart and stir fry noodles with just veggies, eggs spices and sauce. They are less than a dollar and ABSOLUTELY delicious. I am serious, I am getting one of those carts and setting myself up in Adams Morgan.