China – Xian

We take Xian very slowly and relaxed. All days behind us are starting to put some weight on our backs and the never-ending rain here is not helping.

Xian feels more modern than Beijing, or at least the quarter where we are staying. The two lines of metro are super clean and modern, also more expensive. The streets are full of stores, including a Walmart!

Our favorite place, the Muslim Quarter, close to the Drum and Bell towers. This place is like a giant food market. All streets are full of life and packed with small restaurants and food stands selling the highlights: “biang biang” noodles, small potatoes or tofu fried and spiced—so good!, spiced gelatin, meat and squid skewers, pork pitas, rice cakes, moon cakes, sweets… We will eat here two times during our stay, despite the absence of hygiene, for which we still care, but there’s nothing we can do.

All was happening under the rain.

All was happening under the rain.

Rice cakes

Rice cakes

Dates and more dates!

Dates and more dates!

Super Hygiene 1

Super Hygiene 1

Super hygiene 2

Super hygiene 2

This is how they prepare the noodles here.

This is how they prepare the noodles here.

Results of the previous three pictures: Biam Biam Noodles typical of Xian, or so they said.

Results of the previous three pictures: Biam Biam Noodles typical of Xian, or so they said.

Meat skewers everywhere. We did not try those.

Meat skewers everywhere. We did not try those.

Squid skewers. Yes we did try those :)

Squid skewers. Yes we did try those 🙂

Proof of squid skewer eating.

Proof of squid skewer eating.

More noodle stoves.

More noodle stoves.

Drum tower illuminated at night.

Drum tower illuminated at night.

On of the drums of the drum tower used in the past to tell the time.

On of the drums of the drum tower used in the past to tell the time.

One of the streets of the Muslim quarter from the drum tower. You can see all the stand roofs covering everything.

One of the streets of the Muslim quarter from the drum tower. You can see all the stand roofs covering everything.

Inside the Bell Tower, we were on the right time to see the bell performance.

Inside the Bell Tower, we were on the right time to see the bell performance.

Inside the Muslim quarter there is a Mesquite famous enough to be visited by our current King Felipe a bunch of years ago. We get lost for some time trying to find the entrance and we visit it. It turns out to be quite interesting when you notice the mix of Chinese and Arab decorations in the Mesquite slash Temple. Here are some pictures.

Some of the gardens.

Some of the gardens.

One of the benches exposed.

One of the benches exposed.

A fountain in the gardens.

A fountain in the gardens.

This is where the currently pray.

This is where the currently pray.

Arab letters mixed with Chinese style.

Arab letters mixed with Chinese style.

This is a painting that I found quite impressive.

This is a painting that I found quite impressive.

Detail of a box with amazing decoration to keep one Quran.

Detail of a box with amazing decoration to keep one Quran.

Another similar box.

Another similar box.

We spend too much time finding things to eat in the Muslim quarter and fail to get the right bus once so we arrive too late to see the Goose Pagoda. All we can do is take a picture of the pagoda from outside and some of its surroundings.

20140916-182930-DSC01330

A commercial center close to the Big Goose pagoda, with a super giant screen as the roof.

A commercial center close to the Big Goose pagoda, with a super giant screen as the roof.

Night shot going to the metro.

Night shot going to the metro.

We’re taking it so slow that it is not until the third and last day that we’ll visit the Terracotta Warriors. They are outside of Xian and we have to take an hour bus to get there. The complex is around a big park and the main visit is divided in three buildings covering pits of warriors. We are a bit late and decide to start from the big one contrary to what the guidebooks recommend. It is indeed amazing. Around two thousand statues can be seen here. Infantry, archers, horses, all of real size with full details and unique facial features. Most of them are reconstructed piece by piece with the still ongoing labor of digging and restoration.

Pit 1

Pit 1

20140917-163245-DSC01342

Some of them still not recovered.

Some of them still not recovered.

Other ones partly still inside the soil.

Other ones partly still inside the soil.

Some workers painting details in a grid paper.

Some workers painting details in a grid paper.

Restored statues exposed in the back of the building.

Restored statues exposed in the back of the building.

Statues in the process of restoration, being mounted peace by peace.

Statues in the process of restoration, being mounted peace by peace.

On the second pit, they have some of them exposed in vitrines—full of fingerprints as they love to put hands everywhere—where we can appreciate the level of detail and some remains of the painting that peeled off shortly in contact with the air. They also have some weapons exposed, including swords—still sharp since they covered them with chromium more than two thousand years before that technique was used by Germans or Americans.

A part of the pit 2

A part of the pit 2

Leftovers in the soil of some of the chariots. All of them disappeared since they were made with wood.

Leftovers in the soil of some of the chariots. All of them disappeared since they were made with wood.

20140917-172128-DSC01360

20140917-171941-DSC01359

This is where all fingerprints come from. Everybody loves to touch the vitrines here.

This is where all fingerprints come from. Everybody loves to touch the vitrines here.

20140917-172526-DSC01363

They even had details in the soles. Here you can see some of the paint too.

They even had details in the soles. Here you can see some of the paint too.

We loved the visit despite it being quite simple. Totally recommended!

5 thoughts on “China – Xian

  1. Beautiful pictures!

    If you managed on some of the really special ones (the ones at night and food closeup) to put the exposure f/ ratio details that’d be awesome!!!

    1. I thought I was exporting the metadata with the photos but turns out I was wrong. Next photos will have all the camera metadata with aperture, speed and focal length.

      Adding it manually in the captions is too much work and since I do not host this WordPress blog myself, I can not add plugins to show that automatically. However, you can download some Chrome extensions that will allow you to see that metadata directly in the browser, like the EXIF Viewer that allows you to right click on an image and show the metadata on a right window.

      For the night shoots I usually use the Sony 55mm at 1.8f which is an amazing lens in terms of detail. I retouch the photos with Lightroom but I usually only correct some shadow levels when there is too much darkness or contrast in the image; level the photo if it is too rotated or crop it to zoom in a certain area since I do not have a telephoto lens–the 55mm is so good that I can use that as if it was a telephoto by cropping later in Lightroom.

      Carlos

Leave a comment | Deja un comentario