After my breakfast I headed out into Xian to explore a bit. I planned to work my way to the bus station in order to buy tickets to go and see the Terra Cotta warriors who were the reason for my visit to Xian. Once out on the street I looked up to the roof of my hotel and was surprised to see that it was partially obscured by the thick smog that hung over the city.
Near the bus station I examined the old medieval walls that ran just outside of the bus-yard. The entire area was full of restaurants, shops, and all sorts of other businesses. I found a McDonalds that rested on the 2nd floor of a restaurant building complex. On the ground floor I found a restaurant that appeared to be a KFC knockoff. Instead of Colonel Sanders they had “Mr. Lee.”
The second floor McDonald’s window provided a bird’s eye view of the major intersection outside of the bus terminal.
I watched in amazement as so many Chinese people came to and fro, briskly walking to their destinations. The streets were wide and always crowded with people. The buses cars and motorcycles danced between the people with a particular finesse that seemed avoid what should have been a thousand traffic accidents. The old city walls looked down with a timeless wisdom that seemed to stand out of place in this bustling metropolis; perhaps in another country, but in China the old seems to mix with the new everywhere I go.
Inside the bus courtyard hundreds of Chinese Army soldiers, Marines, and Sailors unloaded from busses and organized into their unit formations. It almost looked as if they were staging for a parade. I tried asking some of them what the occasion was but no one spoke English. I was eager to head out to see the Terra Cotta Warriors so I didn’t spend too much time looking at the military men. Later, when I ate dinner, the restaurant I was in had about 40 soldiers in it; I was completely surrounded. I tried to take their photo but they objected. Instead, I asked one soldier to take my photo hoping to catch them in the background. He did his best to not take photos of his comrades but you can see a few of them in the background.
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