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Travel
31
Aug
2009
All roads lead to Xi'an's terra cotta warriors E-mail
Reviews - Travel
Written by David Kootnikoff
As the full moon rose above the Drum Tower like an enormous tangerine, my wife and I stopped to catch our breath. We had just finished a 14-kilometre bike ride on top of the walls that surround the ancient Chinese city of Xi'an. It had been an exhilarating few hours, but all that jostling over the cobblestones had taken its toll. And we were starving.

A few steps away lay the bazaar and the Great Mosque—one of China's oldest, dating back to the eighth century. As we zigzagged on foot through the narrow alleyways and streets looking for a place to eat, a little girl in pigtails pulled on my shirt, trying to sell wilted roses before the market closed for the day. Two buskers leaned against a wall, filling the air with Chinese pop songs.

We passed stalls selling everything from stuffed Olympic mascots to tiny terra cotta warriors. Pressing on, we finally found what we were looking for: De Fa Chang, one of Xi'an's oldest dumpling restaurants.
 
13
Jul
2009
Trip to Cui Hua Mountain E-mail
Reviews - Travel
Written by Sew Sung
Wake up call at 8.10 am on a Sunday is never a pleasant thing for me. But that day, what lay ahead for me to discover, though I had not much idea about the trip, geared me up and in no time our small adventure group was gathered. It's 9 am on a bright Sunday morning, when we, a group of 9 young foreigners finally set out to experience what Xi'an and its surrounding regions had to offer.

It being our first ever trip to CUI HUA Mountain, we had little idea about how to get there .Fortunately with the help of the local people we finally got on the wright bus. However standing nearly on tip toes in an overcrowded bus, I could feel my enthusiasm level going down drastically. That’s when the real journey started. Slowly, we left the crowded city area n entered a more eye soothing environment. Blocks of concrete buildings were now replaced by endless green fields, trees and cattle!

 
28
May
2009
Xi'an E-mail
Reviews - Travel
Written by Niamh and Cathal
We arrived early in Xi'an on the overnight train from Pingyao. We haggled a bit with the touts at the station and blagged a double ensuite room at a hostel for 100Yuan - that's about 7 pounds. We took it easy the first day - shocked at how much hotter it was. The old part of Xi'an is surrounded by a wall and has a drum and bell tower. We wandered around the Muslim quarter for a while and got our bearings.

When it cooled down a bit we headed out again to find some dinner and discovered a weird fountain light show thing going on - the fountains were literally holes in the pavement spewing forth in time to Chinese pop music (which I must admit to quite liking). It was quite nice. We wandered off and tried to find something which didn't involve meat on sticks for dinner. This was surprisingly difficult but we managed to secure some stuffed pancake-type things and some bread.

 
16
May
2009
History flows freely in Xi'an E-mail
Reviews - Travel
Written by Harry Shattuck
From architecture to cuisine, Xi’an reflects the influence of 13 Chinese dynasties headquartered here — Qin (221-206 B.C.) to Tang (618-907) — and illustrates longer-lasting traditions.

As a guide on our organized excursion said, “Shanghai is where we show you the future of China. If you want to see the China of the past 600 years, you go to Beijing. But if you want to see the China of 5,000 years ago, go to Xi’an. “The canopy of the tree is Shanghai. The branches are Beijing. But the roots of the tree are Xi’an. ” The terra-cotta warriors have been the main impetus for tourism. But among scores of landmarks, you’ll find one of the world’s best-preserved 14th-century city walls (you can circle the city by foot atop the wall); pagodas constructed more than 1,000 years ago; an eighth-century great mosque, the center of Xi’an’s Muslim quarter; some of China’s grandest Buddhist temples; renowned Ming Dynasty bell and drum towers (now minus the bell and drum); even the remains of a 6,000-year-old Neolithic village.

The Forest of Stone Steles, which includes about 2,300 inscribed slabs, illustrates the calligraphic art of multiple dynasties. A large, modern history museum applies perspective.

 
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