Xi'an - Not Just Terracotta Warriors

by Sheri_Oz

A unique experience awaits Western tourists who stay for a week or more in Xi'an, China. Most only come to see the Terracotta Warriors. But not you!

I volunteered at a hospital in Xi'an, China for a month in 2005. Every morning I walked to work from the apartment I stayed at. Most afternoons, after work, I walked to the old city and wandered around there. One day I took a bike and had a great day riding farther than I'd ever get on foot. Almost at every turn there were scenes worth photographing. Let me show you this wonderful place.

Westerners were then, and I imagine still are, regarded with curiousity by the local population because there are not a large number of them walking the streets, even in the Old City. So you can be unlike the masses who come only to see the Terracotta Warriors and have fun in a safe city that gives you a taste of China in a way that can't be had in Beijing.

The thumbnail photo beside the title of this article shows City Hall with a flower sculpture on the lawn in front of it.

Xi'an Diaries

A Photo Gallery

Yes, it's true - this trip took place in 2005. Old stuff? Well, I don't think Xi'an goes out of date like our new technology does. One thing I know has changed since then is that the one-child-per-family law has been rescinded. I'm glad for my young friends who are of child-bearing age.

In this article, I share with you random photos taken during my daily walks around Xi'an. In time, I will post more articles describing my experiences in depth.

Throughout the trip, I wrote to friends as a kind of diary and ongoing dialogue with them about the culture and the people I met. I decided to share my writings with you. You might decide to go there yourself and compare how things are now with how they were then, or you might just enjoy being an armchair tourist as I enjoy reading about other peoples' trips to places I will probably never visit.

Transport your goods on a bike

By Bike in Xi'an
By Bike in Xi'an

. . . or pull the stuff on a sled

(well, a kind-of sled, anyway), when you don't have a bike
Pulling the Products
Pulling the Products

Haircuts in Xi'an

OR: How to reduce overhead costs.
Haircut on the Street
Haircut on the Street

Village Woman with Baby, and Husband Pulling Up the Rear

Carrying a Baby in Xi'an
Carrying a Baby in Xi'an

Socializing in the Afternoon in the Street

I wonder if they still do this. Once upon a time, I remember when people were out in the streets or parks after work in Israel and Canada. Now it seems that most people are stuck to their computer screens. I know that I am. I play mahjong on the computer. If I ever make it back to China, I'll try to join a street game.

Playing Mahjong in the Afternoon in Xi'an, China
Playing Mahjong in the Afternoon in Xi'an, China
Playing Checkers in Xi'an
Playing Checkers in Xi'an
Showing the Mahjong pieces
Showing the Mahjong pieces

Restaurant Entertainment

Street Scenes While Riding a Bike Through Xi'an

Hanging Sheets to Dry in the Streets of Xi'an
Hanging Sheets to Dry in the Streets of Xi'an
Selling Goldfish Door to Door
Selling Goldfish Door to Door
Photographer: Sheri Oz
Modern High-Rise Buildings in Xi'an
Modern High-Rise Buildings in Xi'an
Photographer: Sheri Oz
Playing Traditional Music in the Street
Playing Traditional Music in the Street
Flower Sculpture - You Find Examples of These All Over Xi'an
Flower Sculpture - You Find Examples of These All Over Xi'an
Practicing For a Street Performance
Practicing For a Street Performance

Mornings

While there are general street cleaners, as in the photo to the left, below, it is also the responsibility (whether self-imposed or by law, I do not know) of shop owners to clean the sidewalk in front of their own shops, as in the photo on the right, below.

Sweeping the Streets in Xi'an
Sweeping the Streets in Xi'an
Shop-keeper Sweeps the Street in Xi'an
Shop-keeper Sweeps the Street in Xi'an
Staff Announcements Before Opening Shop or Restaurant
Staff Announcements Before Opening Shop or Restaurant

Evenings

When the weather is good, there is a lot of life outside. I loved to spend time after dark in the Old City. In one park, people would fly kites or play with various light-up toys. And the huge buildings would glow in the dark.

Drum Park in the Old City of Xi'an in the Evening
Drum Park in the Old City of Xi'an in the Evening
Old City Gate at Night, Xi'an, China
Old City Gate at Night, Xi'an, China
Hotel in the Old City at Night
Hotel in the Old City at Night

What is China Without English Signs Nobody Really Understands?

Sign in Incomprehensible English
Sign in Incomprehensible English

I Love Xi'an

And I hope I have been able to give you a sense of the place.

Everything is so big. The buildings, the streets, but not the people. They are small. And many. I will add more articles, as I promised, to bring you more of the Xi'an that I love.

Updated: 06/09/2015, Sheri_Oz
 
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Sheri_Oz on 04/17/2016

It is fascinating. No doubt about it.

blackspanielgallery on 04/16/2016

Your photographs reveal much of an interesting culture.

jptanabe on 06/10/2015

Wonderful! Love all the scenes (and the incomprehensible sign!) - makes me want to visit!

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