On the Drum Tower you can see the Chinese way of keeping time from hundreds of years ago. The drums sounded every night to signal the end of the day.
The city of Xian is a big deal in China. It is over 3000 years old, one of the four ancient capitals of China, home to the Terracotta Warriors and the Tomb of the First Emperor Qin Shin Huang. Basically if you go to China you have to see this city.
Krista and I spent 17 hours on a train to see the sights for two days. We arrived late the first day so we decided to begin with exploring the city before seeing the Terracotta Warriors. There was still plenty to see and do. In short we cycled the city walls, saw a drum show in the drum tower and walked around the Muslim quarter.
We rented a tandem bicycle and pedaled for an hour and a half to get around the city walls. The walls are nearly 800 years old and one of the last ancient fortifications in China. Dozens of pictures were taken and fourteen kilometers later we dropped the bike off at the shop. Even though it is fall in China we were warm from the exercise and hungry. Train food does not stick with you.
Only a few blocks away from the Wall is the Muslim Quarter of Xian. There is a Grand Mosque and what is pretty much a bazaar. There are food stalls, small kiosks and stores everywhere. People swarmed and even though we were outside it still felt cramped and warm. Kashmir which the owners assured me was real was on sale and souvenirs highlighting the Terracotta Warriors sat on tables beside chess sets.
It was fun and almost overwhelming.
We were there for dinner though and ignored all of it. We bought some bread that looked like pizza without the stuff on top and mutton on a stick. With our hunger taken care of it was another short walk to see two other landmarks Xian is famous for: The Drum Tower and the Bell Tower.
The Drum Tower is around 800 years old and holds a museum inside. The building used to operate with the Bell Tower to tell time. The bells would start the day and the drums were played to tell the time at night. The city also gives a drum show every day for a small price.
Apparently you cannot pay to see this show with counterfeit money.
Somehow someone had slipped me a fake fifty Yuan bill and I had not noticed until then.
We saw the drum show and then went to look at the lit up Bell tower. On the way I tried to pass my useless fifty off by trying to buy several things. It didn’t work. Eventually I had to throw it away and we went back to the hostel.
Next time on Asian Adventure: Krista and Alex explore the Tomb of the First Emperor master of the Terracotta Army.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition November 17, 2012