I am no longer updating shanghaidiaries.com. Please visit my new personal blog at danwashburn.com. Update your RSS readers!

Chewing the fat in Xi’an

Featuring: clay soldiers, shirtless men, secret noodles, lots of meat — and the drinking-and-driving poster boy

XI’AN, Shaanxi — Xi’an is one of the world’s oldest cities, with ancient city walls, cherished cultural monuments and world-renowned archaeological sites. My first stop there was the five-star Sheraton Hotel. My next stop was an internet bar. Funny that while on a four-month tour of China, often the last thing I feel like doing is touring. Traveling can be tiring.

Xi’an, a city in need of a good scrubbing, was the first destination on this trip I feel I can safely describe as seedy. The long stares I had grown accustomed to were now sideways glances. And I felt I was always one wrong move away from being ripped off. If Shanghai is a businessman in a fake designer suit, Xi’an is a used car salesman, all sly smiles, sweaty palms and false handshakes.

Of course, the same could be said of several Chinese cities that cater to a steady flow of foreign tourists, pockets bulging with cameras and cash. And, thanks to the Army of Terracotta Warriors, considered the most important archaeological discovery of the 20th century, Xi’an ranks up there with Beijing and Shanghai as a “must-see” destination in China. I had spent much of the previous two weeks hiding out in small, unassuming locales — places where the idea of having a foreign visitor is, well, completely foreign to most people — so my arrival in any “important” city like Xi’an would have felt like a slap in the face … especially after more than 20 hours of traveling.

Continue reading

08.17.2004, 11:58 PM · Shaanxi, The Trip · Comments (14)


Shanghai Diaries is a website about Shanghai, China ... and lots of other stuff. Voted Best Mainland China Blog in the 2004 Asia Blog Awards.

Editor: Dan Washburn

Related: Shanghaiist and Mudan Boutique

Dan is a freelance writer living in Shanghai. More about Dan.

Steve Drumm
Lani, Dave and Sam
Sodium and Mark
Lin Xiao
Douglas Waterman
Brian Wong
Tony Gonzalez
Le Quang Tuan
More, RSS

No events at this time.

More, Add an event


Powered by Google
Mailing List

New Photos

10.08.2005 (127 new)
Fujian Power!
Visit an old colonial island in Xiamen and huge earthen roundhouses in rural Fujian. Scenes from my National Day 2005 holiday.

10.08.2005 (41 new)
Go on the set for my very first infomercial! I play the role of “Dr. James,” inventor of a product called “Dolly.”

10.08.2005 (57 new)
Gaelic Football
Get some sweaty culture at the Asian Gaelic Games. Gaelic football comes to Shanghai!

10.08.2005 (14 new)
Xingfu 13
Jam with Xingfu 13 at the Shanghaiist.com launch party.

10.08.2005 (29 new)
Shanghai Sex Expo
Take a stroll through the Second Annual China International Adult Toys and Reproductive Health Exhibition, also known as the Adult Expo or the Adult-Care Expo.

Archives, RSS

no products found