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Tour of Xi'an City and Karoke night!

This morning we all felt refreshed and ready for the next excursion having had a free day to recharge and sort out odds and ends. With an early start we travelled into the centre of Xi'an with the intention of seeing the City wall, Bell and Drum Tower and Muslim Quarter.

First stop was the City Wall which is 14km long and was the protective wall for this ancient capital of China. I hadn't realised before but we were going to be cycling along the wall which I was looking forward to, having mainly walked everywhere it would be a nice change. It was a cold morning and I was happy to see a coffee vendor was open as we entered the North gate, the rest of the group was too so we all purchased our hot drinks. Luckily for us in the interim a performance was being prepared which represented the traditional mixture of drumming and acrobatics that the original guards of the city would perform for the emperor as part of the morning service.


When we finished we made our way to the cycles and was pleasantly surprised to find out that they had tandem bikes. We paired up and were on our way with Ronnie our guide who was an intern for I-to-I. The views were not particulary spectacular but the size of the wall meant we had plenty of time to joke around and take a few select photos. With the occasional interspersed race between bikes, attempts to take a timed action photo with Sarah trying to run as fast as she could to get on the bike before the time ran out and the groups attempts to outdo the Chinese acrobatic show it was a fun morning and we worked up an appetite for lunch.


Before we left the City Wall we saw a couple who look like they were having a wedding photo. In China the bride traditionally wears red instead of white, Sarah was able to take good photo of them which I think would rival any wedding photographer.


The next sightseeing opportunity was the Bell Tower which is centrally located within the City Wall and offers great views of the busy streets. Looking out at the city it was clear that westernisation had taken over the main part of Xi'an with shopping malls and Starbucks and KFC on the main pedestrian areas. The tower in ancient history was used much like Big Ben in London as a indicator for the time. It would strike every three hours in the daytime and the Drum Tower would be used during the evening to indicate the time as well.

Inside the Bell Tower we watched a traditional musical performance and dance, The instruments included were a sit down like guitar and one string standing violin instrument as well as bells for percussions. Sarah and I were able to identify our Chinese calendar animal as the scrolls of each year decorated the wall space. Sarah's was the rat and mine was the Ox, which apparently are quite compatible.

The Ox

The Rat

Unfortunately the Drum Tower was not open so we went on to the Muslim Quarter which takes it's name after the travelling Muslim's who trekked across the Silk Road to trade goods with the Chinese would set up shop within these small streets. There were all kinds of souvenirs, t-shirts, bags, jewellery on offer for you to bargain the best price. The common practice for bargaining is the seller will offer a price which is normally ludicrously over priced and then you make an offer that is quarter of that and keep feigning interest until you get that price or near to it. It's a bit of bitch process when you just want to grab something on your way through. My advance, leave time and know the exchange rate of what you are prepared to pay for it.


We were all ready for dinner by this point and we decided to buy our own food in and I offered to cook a stir fry for everyone. Luckily our guide Peter was happy to help in the market to get the food and then he offered to help me cook it. So I prepared the food and he cooked it. To be fair to cook for 9 people is tricky at the best of times in your own kitchen but in someone else's it would of been quite stressful so I was thankful for the help.


Earlier we had gone to the supermarket with the intention on getting a bit of alcohol to boost the inhibitions as it was Karaoke night. Unfortunately it didn't go to plan as our guide told us we bought rice wine which I can tell you does not go down well even with a mixer..!!

The karaoke was such a laugh. We were taken to this lavish building that had loads of separates rooms with a sort of alcohol kiosk in the main reception where you could by imported drinks.

At first Jackie took the reigns and showed us her skills singing Hey Jude, aptly chosen for Jude who was on our trip (something many people before have made the connection between the two of them, which we joked about the next day) it was a great start as Jackie had a great voice and we all sang along doing the standard Na Na Na Na Na's and waving our arms in a BBC Proms night fashion. As the night went on we swapped around taking turns to have a go. The library wasn't very eclectic, made up of mainly pop songs but there was enough for us to be entertained and even our guide's Peter and Ronnie got involved. At one point Katy Perry's firework came on and the girls were all dancing, and later Sam, Peter and I danced around to a Asian version of The Beatles Yellow Submarine. Sarah and I performed a song by the boy band 'Five', I selected it thinking it would take us back to our teenage days for a good laugh.

Peter and Sam became bad bro romancer's after singing into each other's faces Lady Gaga's Bad Romance which was hilarious to watch. It was a great night and one to remember.


Tomorrow would be our trip to the Terrcotta Warriors.

Stay tuned for more tales.......


Posted by doyledan 03:39 Archived in China

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