After the first of many epic train journeys (15 hours) we arrived in Xi'an at or hotel at 6:30am and promptly headed to bed!
We had hard sleepers on the train which weren't so bad, the pain was eased by several beers, lots of games of 'a*******' (a card game, which I am sure the SEEVIC guys will remember waisting hours playing rather than going to General Studies!) and a few shots of rice wine for the loosers!
After our power naps we all met up and headed out of town to see the Teracotta Worriors. It was bloody freezing, and although extremely impressive, still far too cold to be wandering around in unheated warehouses looking at statues from 25ft. The farmer that discovered the Warriors was stationed in the gift shop, signing books, completely unimpressed by the small stream of western tourist that stop looked and proceeded out of the shop not wanting to part with 120yaun for the book!
The tour guide who we had hired to show us the Warriors knew a local farmer, who was prepared to cook us lunch for 20Yaun (2pounds). The food was fantastic, extremely fresh and without doubt the best of the trip so far!
The next morning, most of us spent the morning cycling the city wall, good fun but bloody hard work on the bone shaker bikes that we hired!
That afternoon a few us headed to the Bell Tower in the centre of Xi'an and then on to the Muslim Quarter. The Muslim Quarter has the largest mosque in China, the area itself has a lot of markets selling touristy stuff, which was fun. We headed out of the tourist area tried some great street food, rat on stick, flat bread, dumplins etc. After which we managed to cause pandamonium trying to get tuc tucs back our hotel, which resulted in a car accident and lots of angry Chinese men. So we did the honourary thing and ran off without paying!
The following day Dave, Anna & I took a walk back from the Muslim Quarter and got a little lost, it all turned out for the best as we walked through a park that followed the city wall. The park was full of lots of intresting stuff, out door adult play equipment, table tennis areas, small bands and people who had come to show off their caged birds (very strange, they hang the cages in the trees???).
That night we met up with Charles, the driver of the overnight train who we had befriended a couple of days earlier. We hired a Karaoke bothe, now I knew this was big in Japan but I never expected anything like it in China. This place was huge, we had a large room which holds twenty odd people, and there was maybe 20 other identical rooms, we got drunk and sang very badly for a few of hours! Before heading back to the hotel, we got another beer in a local bar, never try Chinese Guiness - it's bloody awful, worse than the stuff at Marge & Grays house!!!