Something very strange happened to us today and I still can’t work out why! We were walking along the river in the city of Xi’an and thought we’d take a rest on the wall, we was just sitting there talking, minding our own business when a group of 4 teenage girls approached us. They were all giggling and looked very excited, they said ‘can you take photo please’ so we assumed they wanted us to take a photo of them in front of the river. Nick hopped up and then instead of giving him their camera 2 of the girls stood either side of him whilst the others took pictures. They then shyly asked if I would join for photos. One girl even stood there jumping on the spot in excitement when we posed together with them. Each one wanted their own photo on their own phone so we had to pose about 10 times! And whilst we was posing for one girl, the others were taking selfies with us in the background. How weird! I wonder if they thought we was somebody we clearly are not? Or are they just really fascinated by seeing Western people? It’s not like there wasn’t any other Westerners around, we did see a fair few other tourists. Either way, we had our moment of feeling famous.
Our celebrity lifestyle came to an end when our fan group left. At which point it was back to reality and on with our walk along the river. We’ve been in Xi’an for 2 nights and today we flew to Shanghai. Our stop off in Xi’an was solely to see the Terracotta Army (which was well worth it!) but there was a few other things to do around the area. We tried to hire bikes this morning to cycle along the 12 mile city wall but unfortunately it was closed due to an event. We then tried to find the famous Drum and Bell towers, but this didn’t go to plan either as without Google Maps we’re struggling to find anything! Instead we stumbled across a street market which we had a wander around for a bit, these markets pretty much only sell a few different items. Each stall usually focuses on a few things and the most popular seem to be beaded necklaces and bracelets, jade stones, roasted nuts or handbags. Once you have seen 4 stalls you have pretty much seen all 400, the items are identical. Whilst at the market I made the mistake of going to a public toilet, wow, this was absolutely disgusting. You know it’s bad when you breath through your mouth to avoid the smell, but then instead you can taste it! There is no privacy at all, just a row of squat pan toilets on the floor and I don’t have to tell you what they were filled to the brim with.
So after our walk along the river we thought we’d try one more time to see another attraction before we headed to the airport. This time we made our way to The Goose Pagoda. The walk there was through a very busy street full of pet shops. The way they keep their animals here was quite upsetting. Each shop had cages outside that were piled on top of each other, they were full of dogs, cats, rabbits, birds, chipmunks, everything! One place even had huge bags full of turtles squirming around. You could tell most of these animals were in a lot of distress due to the combination of the loud streets, the heat and the tiny cages. I felt particularly sorry for one bony puppy that was just sprawled out in the heat and looked dead, another rabbit was squashed in with 4 other rabbits and was darting around its cage hitting its head. Also along this road were your usual market stalls but this time each had dogs and cats tied up and attached to the rail behind them. Very sad. I just hope they weren’t being sold to eat, which apparently happens in China!
Our quest to find the Goose Pagoda failed just like the cycling and our attempts to see the towers. We don’t function very well without Google. After walking for 40 mins and not finding it we thought we would head back to the hotel and do something we know we’re good at, eat! We went to the restaurant next to our hotel and both ate for £10 including 2 fruit smoothies, it’s so cheap here. It then cost us 10p each to get the bus downtown for the airport coach (which was also ridiculously cheap at £2.50!). It’s crazy how cheap public transport is here, yesterday for example we went to the Terracotta army which is about 1hr 20mins on the bus and it was 70p each!