Xi’an presented a phenomenal addition to our itinerary.ÿA mere hop, skip, and a plane ride away from Beijing, Xi’an is generally known as a convenient night’s stay for travelers focused on seeing the world-famous Terra Cotta Warriors.ÿ However, by the time we left, most of us couldn’t help but feel sorry that we were only there for one night.ÿ
The Xi’an City Wall glows spectacularly in the evenings (many of our rooms in the Xi’an Howard Johnson faced it directly), but the greatest spectacle came to the China Trekkers who ventured into town after sunset to visit the famous Xi’an Night Market in the Muslim Quarter.ÿ It was colder in Xi’an than it was in Beijing, butonce we entered the Night Market alit with the flames of cooking food, torches, and twinkle-lights of every color, the energy around us was some of the warmest we felt during the whole trip.
Many of us stopped to purchase cooking spices, tea, and $1 sunglasses (which upon closer, squinting examination, were not in fact “Ray-Ban” but rather “Rar-Bao”), and we spent the evening snacking on market food, and chatting and bargaining with sellers and shopkeepers.
All in all, any visitor to China would be remiss to regard Xi’an merely as a layover on the way to the Terra Cotta Warriors without experiencing all the sights and activities the city has to offer. I am so glad our amazing trek leaders, Yihua and Yiwen, gave us the time and opportunity to discover this.
That’s not, of course, to understate the grandeur of the Terra Cotta Warriors – not surprisingly, they were unforgettable, and every bit as breathtaking as we had envisioned. Yet our evening in Xi’an will continue to be one of the favorite memories our group has taken from China Trek 2009.
Julie Sandler (OE) is from Seattle and loves fish markets and space needles. She also likes Peking Duck, and doesn’t hold her chopsticks correctly.