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Don’t mess with the Xi’an

The Muslim quarter, the city walls and the Werewolf game

Our train journey from Shanghai to Xi’an was definitely a lot more exciting than our other train journeys. This train had open cabins so there was nothing separating the beds from the corridor, which meant that we were able to sit as a group with four on each of the two bottom bunks and others on the seats in the corridors. We’d all gotten some beers and were up for some fun so our guide, Joy, got out a game called the Werewolf game. Each person playing is a certain character, whether it’s a werewolf, village person, seer or witch and the werewolves aim is to kill off as many of the others as they can, whilst the others are trying to find and kill off the werewolves. It was such a fun game and one we’ll be looking for back in the UK. We still had a few beers left so next came Ring of Fire. The rules became a mish-mash of English, Dutch and Chinese rules and included a lot of dares. All of them seemed to be aimed at making fools of ourselves in front of the rest of the train as we had to perform dances for them, hop all the way down the carriage and Erik had to hug and tell a random Chinese woman that he loved her (in Chinese). Only when the lights went out did we finally stop.


We got into Xi’an pretty early and had a couple of hours rest in our hotel before Joy took us out to show us the local area. One of the main attractions is the Muslim Quarter, where there is a huge market, one of the cheapest in China. We spent a while stalking the stalls, trying to persuade ourselves not to buy junk we don’t need. It was tough but each time our hands strayed to our wallet we’d remember our budget and pull ourselves away much to the dismay of the market workers. We were however both tempted by a bamboo wall hanging. It was really beautiful and something we would appreciate when we got back. Alex worked hard at the haggling but after a long period we got it down to ¥80 from ¥480 which we were reasonably happy with. Now just to squash it in the rucksack!

After lunch we met up with Joy and the group to go and see the City Walls. The walls are the most complete city walls to have survived in China as well as being one of the largest ancient military defences in the world. Joy gave us a brief talk about the use of the wall, when building started and when it was completed, before excitedly finding an appropriate spot to perform the Gangnam style dance once again, much to the amusement of the passing Chinese. After that almost everyone else elected to pay the ¥50 for bike hire, whilst a few of us chose to walk it. By a few we mean us and two other guys from the group. It didn’t seem that far to begin with, being only a measly 13.57km-and after all the travelling we were used to walking long distances. However with all the talking and sight-seeing it took us around three hours, finally getting back to our starting point just as they were shutting the gate. It was well worth the walk though, particularly as we’d started it during the day it meant that as the sky darkened we got the chance to watch as the wall and surrounding city gradually light up around us. With a brief stop at Walmart for our customary pot-noodle we headed on back to the hotel.


Rex’s Rules of the Road

  • If you can get your hands on it, the Werewolf game is brilliant with to play with lots of people.
  • The Muslim quarter market is apparently one of the cheapest in China so when you get there haggle well- you’ll come away with a bargain.
  • If you plan on walking the whole of the City wall then make sure you leave yourself enough time and don’t get locked in.
  • If you don’t fancy the walk there are single and tandem bikes available for hourly hire.

Posted by rexontheroad 16:22 Archived in China

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