Xi'an old city at night

Here are a few pictures from this evening’s expedition to Xi’an’s old (walled) city.

Xi'an city gate
Xi'an city gate

Lanterns in the Xi'an City Gate
Lanterns in the Xi'an City Gate

Xi'an Old City #1
Xi'an Old City #1

Xi'an Old City #2
Xi'an Old City #2

The full set is here in my MobileMe Gallery.
It was bitterly cold, and I used the opportunity to educate overseas colleagues on the old English(?) expression “monkey weather” (as in, “It’s cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey”). We took two taxis to the highly-decorated South Gate(?), then braved the traffic to cross into the old city, and went looking for a bar. The first one had cute kittens, but no cocktails. The second had decent drinks (the strongest Long Island Iced Tea I’ve ever had) and great music. From the “Bar Street” we headed up to the Muslim Street, which was a crowded riot of colour, smells (food, incense, spices) and music. Resisting the tourist trinkets, we found a restaurant that offered more and varied ways to serve lamb, beef and goat than I had imagined. (And the fish, mushrooms, and dumplings were good too.) It was halal, of course, and when pressed for an alternative to tea they came up with a couple of bottles of warm, sweet Sprite. (Sweet, because of course it was made from sugar rather than corn syrup.) And finally we flagged down a “cargo taxi” who agreed to take us all back to the hotel for 40 yuan, which was a great deal even if it did mean treating Roman as self-loading freight!
Tomorrow, hopefully, we’ll get to see the Terracotta Army. (I say “hopefully” because there’s a non-zero chance that we’ll have to head back in to the office.)

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