Monday, April 26, 2010

Xi'an to Beijing

After spending much of the previous day seeing the Terracotta Army, I didn't actually have much time left in Xi'an. The city is pretty big and there are a number of sights recommended by the guidebook. I only had an hour to explore before heading to the airport.

Conveniently, the hostel I stayed at was right in the centre of everything. I quickly walked over to the Bell Tower and the Drum Tower. Both are pretty interesting in that they were once used to used to mark the sunrise (with a giant bell) and sunset (with drums).

The only other stop was the Muslim quarter and the Great Mosque of Xi'an. The mosque was somewhat interesting in that it was built like a Chinese temple. If it weren't for the Arabic script, one would have a hard time telling the difference. I find it so fascinating that the religion was able to spread to so many places through China, so long ago. Much of it was through traders that had come via the Silk Road.

It would have been nice to have spent more time in Xi'an, but I did look forward to flying back to Beijing. On the flight I ran into a Chinese man who actually helped me randomly on the streets of Xi'an the day before. It was a funny coincidence and he actually helped me in Beijing too, allowing me to take his taxi to the nearest subway station. I missed using the Beijing subway, it's so easy to get around!

Once I was all settled into the hostel, I had very little daylight left. I actually got in touch with the Australian couple who I met in Guilin and met them and some other travelers for dinner and drinks. It was quite nice to have some company and exchange some stories.

Bell Tower:

Drum Tower:

Great Mosque: