Xi’an, not so ancient city

Xi’an turned out to be pretty boring. With population over three million, ultra-modern architecture, tourism oriented mentality, air pollution and numerous designer clothes shop (Prada – check, Louis Vitton – check) it rather resembles a trendy capital in Europe than an ancient capital of China. Few ancient sights as Bell and Drum Tower and City Wall are in top notch condition and give an impression of being built just a few years ago. Terracota Army, the main attraction of Xi’An is one of those “been there, done that” sights. Nothing special, apart from historical value and huge hype surrounding it. On a more positive note, one of the pleasant memories about Xi’an was playing ping pong and doing tai-chi push-hands with local people in the park outside the city walls. Push-hands was particularly interesting – 20 minutes of wrestling resulted a bruised elbow, a dirty t-shirt and invaluable experience. Nice one! And all that without any successful verbal communication.

Anyways two days in Xi’an was more than enough for me, mainly thanks to extremely polluted air. I arrived in Deng Feng, home to Shaolin temple, via Luo Yang by a high-speed train (with the noted top speed 334km/h). Three times more expensive than a regular train, but the train is superb. Ultra-modern, with enough leg-space, comfortable seats, reasonably priced snacks and real-time floor sweeping. As a bonus it makes you feel like you are in a sci-fi novel. No wi-fi though, but there are power sockets. Loved it.

Shaolin temple and mountain hiking tomorrow. Yep.

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