Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Ballad of the Strangled Cat

The main purpose of our visit to Xi'an was to see the Terracotta Army and the Large Goose Pagoda. We managed to knock them off in the first two days of our 3 day visit to Xi'an, so we found that we had a free day up our sleeve to lounge around in the local cafes and shopping malls.

Next to our hostel is the south gate of the Xi'an city wall. Built in 1370 AD, the 14km wall surrounds the inner city, is 12m in height and is about 10m wide at the top. A fellow traveller mentioned to us at the hostel bar the previous night that a great way to see the city is to hire a bike and ride around the top of the wall. 

As mentioned in Jenni's previous post, the previous day was freezing when we visited the Terracotta Army. However, to our surprise the weather did a complete u-turn within a 24 hour period and was actually sunny and 20 degrees Celsius the following afternoon when we rode around the wall.

We hired a tandem bike at the south gate and rode around about half of the wall. The top of the wall is very well preserved with a few rather uneven bits every now and again, thus resulting in the two of us having rather sore backsides that evening. Along our ride we made regular stops to take a look out at the various sights around the city. A park circles the entire outer side of the wall and Jenni and I could stop at regular intervals to watch and listen to the local musicians playing various Chinese instruments. Each song that a musician would play, would be accompanied by a different Chinese woman from the crowd of on-lookers, who would 'sing' along with the music. By 'sing' I actually mean, making sounds along to the music like the sound of a cat being strangled. They were all god awful!

The following day was spent waiting around at the hostel and cafes for our over-night train that would take us to Shanghai. After our little episode of nearly missing the train in Beijing, we made sure to leave with ample time to get the train. As per with our overnight train trip from Beijing to Xi'an, we didn't get much sleep due to people snoring so god damn loud that even a jackhammer would have been less noisy. The only thing that Jenni and I could really hope for was that the air ways in these idiots' throats and nasal cavities would become so blocked that they may die from asphyxiation during their sleep to give us some bloody peace and quiet. Alas, this did not happen and we had to make do with the limited sleep that we could manage by using earplugs to try and block out the constant drone.

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