Amsterdam 23/10/2005 at 15:30
Day 23: Beijing – Xi’an: Arrival in Xi’an
At the station in Xi’an we found that there were absolutely no problems with the bikes. As usual the gears had been changed, but we were getting used to that. Outside the station we met hordes of sales people who wanted to sell anything from hotels and taxis to maps of the city. Once having checked in we took a bus to the Bell Tower Hotel to arrange a guided trip for our next day to the terracotta army.
Having arranged our final day in China we went to the Drum Tower. Eventually we ended up at a very western looking café. Everything was like in Amsterdam incl. the crappiest service that we received in China. Finally done at the café we took at stroll down the moslim alley where food and “antiques” were on sale. There we found the Great Mosque and back alleys used for trading all sorts of stuff that tourists would want to buy. A group of Danish tourists from Kuoni Travel advised us to go to the south gate and take a walk on the city walls.
At the south gate: Didn’t feel like walking on more walls. Instead a couple of Canadian English teachers with their Chinese students bumped into us and we started talking. During the conversation we drew a crowd on Chinese by-standers and beggars. The talk went on about China-, Canada-, and Europe-related topics, differences in customs in the three cultures, and much more. One of the many differences are found in the procedures for international travel. Where Europeans generally very easy get their hands on a Chinese visa, the Chinese have to go through a lengthy process, which by far exceeds our troublesome bike-check-in in Beijing a day earlier.
In the evening we enjoyed dinner at the colorful street restaurants in the moslim quarter and the spectacular water-lights-music show on the fountain square at the pagoda.