We got to our lovely serviced appartment which was spacious and it was handy to have a kitchen and fridge for a few days. We bought some lovely fruit – nice cherries for $5 a kilo and plums and nectarines.

The train station in Xi’an is chaotic but we managed to get a taxi quickly. We again stayed in the old city which is enclosed by a very wide city wall with four main gates. The city has been well planned with very wide boulevards. We stayed in a nice quiet area close to the very impressive drum tower and right behind it was the muslim quarter which consisted of thousands of litlle restaurants, food stalls and shops selling souvenirs, art work and dried fruit of every kind.  We had some delicious beef and spicy chicken skewers and tasty cold noodles.

The muslims here were nearly all wiped out in a rebellion in the 1870’s. The muslim men all wear little white caps but there are only a small number of women who cover their head at all and then they are more ornate pieces that only cover the back of their heads.

We caught a bus the first evening to the white goose pagoda which is in a lovely large park and they have a very large area with water jets and fountains and we joined the other thousands of Chinese tourists and locals to watch the music fountain. It covered a large area but we both preferred the more co-ordinated and beautiful music fountain at West Lake in Hangzhou.

The next day we climbed up many steps again to walk on top of the old city wall and went 1//4 of the way around it from the west gate and along the wall to the south gate. It was about 35degrees but nice and dry to there weren’t many other people up there and we chose lunchtime again to avoid the crowds.

On the Sunday we went to visit the Shaanxi museum and caught a local bus there. It wasn’t open as there was a widespread power outage in the city so we decided to take our lunchh and have it in the park by the white goose pagoda. We went for a long walk and found in front of the pagoda a very wide long boulevard with beautiful bronze groups of statues and small fountains along the centre. It all looked fairly new and there was an enormous housing project on both sides of the road under construction but low rise (only about 5storeys) with each building with a chinese style roof. Along the boulevard there was an art museum, concert hall, cinema complex and large department stores.We then made our way back to the museum so see if it was open. There was a moderate sized queue at the museum and we couldn’t understand why as you do not need to pay to go into the museum BUT you need to have a ticket. We arrived there at 1210pm and there was a queue in front of the ticket office. They close for lunch so we have a 50minute wait until 1pm (we weren’t going to come back) until they opened up, looked at our ID. We wrote the ID numbers down on a piece of paper and then could go into the museum. All the while there were officials standing at the gate to take your tickets while the others were at lunch. We just couldn’t figure it out! After all that the museum was mainly showing primitive artifacts and some later ceramics and artifacts from the Tang and Qing dynasties whereas i found the Shanghai museum was far more varied and interesting.

I remember at Expo in Shanghai two years ago that people had a 4-5hour wait for some of the pavillions!

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