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Published: August 30th 2011
We all woke up with slightly sore backs from the massages yesterday but all agreed it had been worth it. We had a little bit of a lie-in which was nice and were up and out by 10am. CJ, Emily, Lizzie, Tabie, Holly and I all jumped into two cabs from the front of the apartment complex and headed straight for a day of sightseeing around the city centre. Holly, Lizzie and I went in one cab that took us to the wrong bloody place but after jumping in another cab we finally found where we were supposed to be and met up with the other three girls. Xi'an is a confusing city, much like the rest of China for there seems to still be this contant smog, meaning that we were trying to look at the skyline to figure out where we wanted to go (we were heading for the Giant Pagoda, something you would assume is pretty hard not to see) but the amount of smog meant we could literally see nothing in front of us.
We had been to the Giant Pagoda to watch the water fountain show a few nights ago however the place was very cool and we wanted to go back to see it during the day. We all agreed that we liked it better in the evening, with the lights and the water and everytthing all lit up. In the daylight it almost lost its serenity. We decided to climb the Giant Pagoda in the middle of the square to try and see if we could get a better view from the top. However after an extortionate £5 to get into the walled off section of the pagoda (£5 is a lot here, I am not being a tight arse!) we found to our dismay that this entrance fee did not include walking up the Pagoda, this was just the fee to get up close to it! We were angry and decided not to pay out anymore money to walk the damn thing. Instead after a quick chat all the pairs went there seperate ways as everyone wanted to do something a little different for the rest of the afternoon.
Lizzie and I began the rest of our day wandering the gardens of the Pagoda which were actually very lovely. We left the Pagoda behind and headed down the strip from it, it is basically a huge road running from the pagoda all the way North and the first mile or so of this road is lined with huge statues of emperors, soldiers, men carrying flags, men on horses, chariots and so on. The statutes are huge, probably about three times the size of me and it was a real sight to see. We walked the entire strip of statuted road, marvelling at them along the the way and watching to see the pagoda disappear into a haze of smog. Once we had ended the strip we sat and chatted for a while and just enjoyed the view some more. Soon we were getting hot just sat still (the temperature does seem to have gone up a little in the last day) and we jumped in a cab and headed to the Muslim Quarter. Again, we had been here the other day and absolutely loved it and we wanted to come and explore it some more, and also do a spot of shopping in the amazing Muslim market. The Muslim Quarter in Xi'an has been here since the 7th century and although not the dominant religion in China the Muslims have really taken a hold of this particular area and made it there own, and there is a real spirt from the area. We trawled around the whole area, had a bite to eat from a street vendor who was cooking fresh hot bread and tried some date and apple juice that was being made fresh, I absolutely hated it but Lizzie didn't mind it too much. We did some shopping in the market, Lizzie got a few bits as did I and we did well at haggling the prices down from the extortinate starting figures they have out here, as an example almost everything we wanted the starting price was 280Y (about £28!) and mostly we haggled down to between £2-5 for things, a huge difference and demonstrates how inflated their prices were! For some reason we were in the Muslim Quarter nearly three hours, and then we randomly bumped into CJ and Emily and shared a rush hour cab home with them to cut costs.
We weren't meant to get dinner this evening, but much to our surprise as we headed over the building 6 there was dinner waiting for us which was great news for Liz and I who had eaten next to nothing all day but bad news for some of the others who stocked up on pizza during the day and now had a Chinese meal to contend with! We didn't really do much after dinner, a film was put on and I watched a little bit of it but was feeling a bit ill so decided to head to building 32 and get some sleep.
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