Xi’an is MASSIVE. Walking out of Xi’an Airport I was attacked by a swarm of illegal taxi drivers asking if I wanted a ride. The same word over and over again “taxi!?”. After having been asked this question more times than I could count I don’t even bother with making a gesture and just keep walking with my eyes looking forward. I finally reached the shuttle bus area and to my disbelief nothing was in English. I somehow needed to get to the Bell Tower (centre of Xi’an). I went up to the ticket counter and told the girl where I wanted to go. She just shrugged her shoulders and looked away trying to ignore me waiting for the next person who spoke her language so she could get on with her job. In the end I just said Xi’an and paid the 26 CNY. All I knew is that I hopefully was going to end up somewhere in Xi’an. Once at the departure gate for the buses I tried and kept calm and not laugh as all signs were in Chinese. I knew right then that this was going to be a long day. I got on a bus matching the Chinese characters of Xi’an and just prayed it wold take me somewhere close to the hostel. One and half hours later I finally arrived in what appeared to be some sort of city. After hours of walking around I found my hostel. Xi’an so far hasn’t set a good impression, as getting from the airport was ridiculously confusing. The bus ride from the airport was a good eye opener to the status of the city. Inside the 14 square mile city surrounded by a wall was an interesting well built-up urban place, but on the outskirts lies a city still very much in development. The subway was very limited with large parts of it being built.
On the other side Xi’an impressed me with one of the greatest Water Shows I have ever seen. Check out my Pagoda blog! The rich and poor divide is very obvious, and a short bus ride out of the city takes you to some deprived areas.
Final Note: Xi’an for me was not all I wanted it to be and I do not have any reason to come back. By all means go to Xi’an and see the Terracotta Warriors and Cycle on the City wall. Just don’t come with large expectations and if arriving early or late, or you are just not willing to have a stressful day prepare to take a taxi.