We made it to Xi'An this afternoon and were amazed by a couple of things. First off ... The smog is so bad that we are surprised anyone can breathe. The smog in Beijing was bad when we there a few years ago in August, but I contributed some of that to the heat. Our driver from the airport said the smog is always this bad. I can't even imagine. People walk around wearing face masks all of the time. They have become part of a fashion statement. Some say Nike. Others look like an animal and others are all lace.
The second thing that we noticed was the extreme poverty as we drove into the city. We saw some of that in Beijing, but nothing compared to what we saw today. Heartbreaking.
We got to experience true China driving today at its best. We actually saw two accidents today, which is the first time we have seen an accident here. We were told everyone drives crazy, but by some miracle there aren't many accidents. I have no idea how anyone's car remains unscathed.
Our hotel is amazing. We were upgraded to a suite and did not even know it. Our first apartment could fit in to this place. Downtown Xi'An is surrounded by the only city wall that remains in its entirety. It is very neat to see and drive through ... You almost feel as if you are entering into the palace gates.
We went out walking this afternoon and found our way to Muslim Street. It is a street full of street vendors. Lots of interesting smells and foods to purchase. There weren't too many things that you can find in the U.S. We also saw the Bell Tower and the Drum Tower. Both are under construction, so we didn't get to see their full beauty but they were still magnificent.
Xi'An City Wall
View from our hotel room
Michael in front of the Bell Tower
Pig feet anyone?
We ate at a Brazilian restaurant tonight. Yep, that's right ... We traveled all the way to China to eat Brazilian BBQ. It was very good and the waiter, Fernando, took an interest in us. He wanted to know where we were from, why we were here and what we thought about Xi'An. We continued to have an interesting and eye opening conversation with him. I want to write more about this conversation, but it will take me awhile to put it together. Stay tuned to hear more about Fernando.
We are going to try and sleep more than 4 hours tonight. Goodnight from Xi'An. Tomorrow - Terracotta warriors!