Our train journey to Xi'an lasted 12 hours but, disgusting toilets aside, it wasn't as bad as we thought it'd be. After checking into our hotel, which I'm pretty sure is the sort of establishment which rents rooms by the hour and whose clientele is mostly "lonely" businessmen, we wasted over an hour of our lives visiting the drum and bell towers in the centre of town. There was nothing remotely interesting in either of them, all they had were a couple of really bad ceramic exhibitions and most of the works on display were less than 20 years old.
We then wandered around the market in the Muslim Quarter, where I picked up some essential reading in "Quotations of Chairman Mao Tse-Tung", a steal at 15 Yuan along with a bracelet Jacqui wanted and has since lost. The old chairman apparently had an answer to everything, as Jacqui will soon discover when I recite passages from it to answer any and all questions she might have about any topic. Overall the place was full of rubbish for tourists like fake watches and bags, but there were a few interesting things like old communist medals and Saddam Hussein themed playing cards, although there wasn't much worth buying. We then came across the old Mosque completely by accident, I doubt we'd have found it had we actually been looking. The man selling tickets was a friendly guy who showed off his collection of foreign coins before we went in, so I gave him 10p to add some of the Queen's finest to it. The Mosque itself was very picturesque and peaceful and there wasn't many people around, so it was definitely worth a visit.
In the afternoon we craved western food so passed through the golden arches to indulge in a little McD's, where some tramp who worked there gave Jacqui a fake 50 Yuan note as change. We didn't realise until we tried to use it to pay at the net cafe, and when we did Jacqui went back and killed her. Later on we had a dumpling meal with our group at a dumpling restaurant which was hit and miss.
On our second day we got a minibus to the Terracotta Army and were shown around by a guide. There are three pits full of them but we were told that the total amount excavated so far could be as little as 3% of the total area of the tomb they were built for, which we were told took 40 years to build. Apparently excavations stopped because once the warriors are unearthed they lose all their colour because of oxidisation. Archaeologists also haven't opened the Emporer's tomb because they think it might be full of mercury, so most of the site is untouched.
In the afternoon we ate at a nasty restaurant where they served us a bowl of dry chillis with "chicken" in, although it looked more like rat feet. We then went to "bar street" which our tour leader had said was where the young people hang out, but it was pretty tame by western standards, as was the club we went to afterwards. They don't have bouncers here, instead they use what look like soldiers - green army uniform and tin helmet. Apparently drinking culture isn't just an English thing as there were loads of Chinese people passed out at tables, and one girl tried to steal Jacqui's drink out of her hand. I think she suffered a similar fate to the McDonalds girl...
Tonight we're getting another mammoth train journey to Shanghai. Looking forward to that!