Our Wonderful Xi’an Experience

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This is the exactly the midpoint of our fourteen-day adventure. Thank you for taking time to read.

Among the five cities we have been to, I enjoyed Xi’an most. We didn’t do anything mind-blowing, but somehow, each little thing contributed to the overall experience. Let me share with you our wonderful Xi’an experience.

Xi’an Mehood Hotel (美豪酒店)

We arrived at Xi’an the night before, only to sleep recharge for the next day. At first, I was apprehensive about our hotel, having read not-so-good reviews online (too smoky, etc.). This was the hotel we stayed at the longest (three nights). I was pleasantly surprised. It was nice!!!

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Free fruits and drinks in the lobby

Free fruits and drinks in the lobby

What I love about the hotel most was their free snacks and get-all-you-want water bottles. The room was also quirky – water closet was separated from the shower area with a thin wall – but, both of them shared a single sliding door. The sink was also placed right between the closet and the mini ref area, and the yoghurt and biscuits inside the ref were all free.

Stuffed toy in our bedroom

Stuffed toys in our bedroom

Mini ref with delicious yoghurt and crackers for us to freely consume.

Mini ref with delicious yoghurt and crackers for us to freely consume.

Share a door, win a friend. What happens if you and your roommate need to shower and poop at the same time?

Share a door, win a friend. What happens if you and your roommate need to shower and poop at the same time?

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Upon check in, we were also given free breakfast coupons. Mehood seemed to have a personal policy against guests getting hungry, and I love it!

Breakfast buffet

Breakfast buffet

A Brief about Xi’an (西安)

Xi’an was China’s original capital, and is the oldest city in the country. Located in the Shaanxi (陕西) province of China, it has a history spanning over 3000 years, and it was where the famous ancient silk road originated. Back in 221BC, China was united under the rule of the very first emperor of China:Qin Shi Huang (秦始皇), and in its vicinity of Xi’an was where he ruled and had his mausoleum constructed.

Xi’an’s Main Attraction: Terracotta Army (兵马俑)

Today, tourists flock to Xi’an mainly for one reason: to see the Terracotta Warriors! This was part of the Mausoleum of the first Qin Emperor, serving to protect the emperor in his afterlife. This site was only discovered in 1974 by local farmers digging a well.

Like in previous towns, we had arranged for a driver to bring us to various important sites in the city. That day, our driver was Mr.  Shi (施).

Notice the Mr. Lee restaurant in the right background. It followed us all the way to Xi'an!

Notice the Mr. Lee restaurant in the right background. It followed us all the way to Xi’an!

Heeding our friend Alan’s advice, we decided to hire an English speaking tour guide upon arrival to the site rather than the audio guide. It was a good move. For cny150 (php1060), we got to appreciate the importance of this UNESCO site even more.

Holding up the umbrella was Lisa, our guide for this site.

Holding up the umbrella was Lisa, our guide for this site.

First glimpse of the escavation.

First glimpse of the excavation.

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Stolen shot of the founder of this site. He was there, waiting for people to buy books, so he could sign them personally.

Stolen shot of the one who discovered this site. He was there, waiting for people to buy books, so he could sign them personally.

Kneeling archers was said to have worked in pairs. Alternatingly, one would stand up to shoot, while the other would kneel down to get ready.

Kneeling archers were said to have worked in pairs. Alternatingly, one would stand up to shoot, while the other would kneel down to get ready.

According to Lisa, this is the actual size of the war horse back then. Not so tall, but very reliable for their speed and endurance.

According to Lisa, this is the actual size of the war horse back then. Not so tall, but very reliable for their speed and endurance.

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This was how it was like before they begin to put things together, sort of like jigsaw puzzles.

This was what it was like before they began to put things together, sort of like jigsaw puzzles.

As the picture illustrated, all the statues used to have colors, but back in 1973, they didn't have the technology to protect it. Thus, oxidation completely destroyed the original color as soon as they were exposed to air.

As the picture illustrated, all the statues used to have colors, but back in 1973, they didn’t have the technology to protect it from the elements. Thus, oxidation completely destroyed the original color as soon as they were exposed to air.

Group shot with Lisa before we say goodbye.

Group shot with Lisa before we said goodbye.

When we were in Zhangbi underground castle in Pingyao, we were teasing Dalvin by pairing him off with Jane. Here in Xi’an, it was George’s turn to be teased, when we paired him with Lisa 😛

The one wrapped in brown paper was supposed to be 'Chinese Hamburger'.

The one wrapped in brown paper was supposed to be ‘Chinese Hamburger’.

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If Filbert's obsession was finding a working sim card, Dalvin was all about buying and collecting postcards.

If Filbert’s obsession was finding a working sim card, Dalvin was all about buying and collecting postcards.

After a quick lunch in a nearby eatery, we called our driver (with my Globe roaming, because we still did not have a local sim) to bring us to the next location: The City Wall.

Ultimate China Experience in the City Wall (西安城墙)

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Inside the double wall.

Inside the double wall.

What happened next was something that made my heart burst into song: biking on top of a wall built more than 300 years ago, in China! Woot!

It didn’t begin that way. First, George and I attempted to ride the tandem bikes together, and boy, it was difficult. Good thing we could exchange it for individual bikes. We started biking from the East side of the wall all the way to the south side. We did it at a leisurely pace, stopping occasionally for breaks. I was really hoping to witness the kite festival happening there according to my research, but kite sellers told me that people usually flew kites when the sun was lower.

Tandem biking fail. It was scary!

Tandem biking fail. It was scary!

Resting (and posing) a bit

Resting (and posing) a bit

No kite buyers under the heat of the sun.

No kite buyers under the heat of the sun.

Marching soldiers on top of the south wall.

Marching soldiers on top of the south wall.

Riding back to east gate to meet Mr. Shi.

Riding back to east gate to meet Mr. Shi.

Posing near one of the corner wall towers

Posing near one of the corner wall towers

So after riding back to the East gate, we called our driver again to fetch us.

Big Wild Goose Pagoda (大雁塔)

This was originally not part of our plan, but, George, the researcher assigned for Xi’an, mentioned that it was a must-see site. We negotiated with the driver and he agreed to come here instead of the other sites we arranged.

The pagoda was already visible outside, so we didn’t pay the steep cny50 entrance fee to go in.

This is considered a UNESCO Heritage site as well, if I'm not mistaken, because it was part of the ancient silk road.

This is considered a UNESCO Heritage site as well, if I’m not mistaken, because it was part of the ancient silk road.

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Statue of Xuanzang (玄奘) a Chinese Buddhist traveler whose legacy was the Great Tang Records on the Western Regions. His journey along the Silk Road, and the legends that grew up around it, was said to have inspired the great Chinese classic 'Journey to the West'.

Statue of Xuanzang (玄奘) a Chinese Buddhist traveler whose legacy was the Great Tang Records on the Western Regions. His journey along the Silk Road, and the legends that grew up around it, was said to have inspired the great Chinese classic ‘Journey to the West’.

Like the Leaning tower of Pisa, This pagoda is also slightly leaning.

Like the Leaning tower of Pisa, This pagoda is also slightly leaning.

Teppanyaki at 57℃湘

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Though the sky was still bright, our stomach thought it was dinner time. We randomly picked a restaurant, and we chose a place with locals eating inside. I honestly thought we were eating Japanese food at first. It was only while the chef was cooking that I realized this was modern Chinese fusion.

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We ordered the Set Menu D, and instructed the forever “bula” (不辣) adage. Again, what they thought was not spicy, was quite spicy for us. Nevertheless, this was one of the good meals we had in this trip.

For only cny398 (php2815), we ate these, plus more:

Garlic Shrimp, Sweet bacon-like meat, mushroom, vegetables, foie gras, barbequed fish, beancurd, chicken gizzard, beef ribs, potato dish, steamed egg with fish roe, fried rice and soy milk.

ObviouslyI’m not a photographer. All my pictures taken while eating were blurred. I could only share some that Fil took.

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Best dish ever!

Best dish ever!

Ending the Day Early

It was already 7:30 in the evening when we got back to the hotel. We decided to call it a day, and begin a bit late the next day.

Another blurred picture with Mr. Shi before parting ways

Another blurred picture with Mr. Shi before parting ways

Our next adventure continues tomorrow. Write up coming soon.

To read about our entire Five-City China Itinerary, click here.

To know what happened right before our Xi’an trip, click here.

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3 responses »

  1. Pingback: A Textured City | Shanda's Happy Deals

  2. Pingback: Still In Pingyao | Shanda's Happy Deals

  3. Pingback: Five-City China Trip: Prologue | Shanda's Happy Deals

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