Tag Archives: culture

China Trip – Xian (Day 1 & 2: Ancient City Wall and Muslim Quarter)

Before I share my week long trip to China, I would like to thank my friends who made it possible for this trip to work! For all it’s worth, I would not be able to go here without them because my mandarin could only get me so far. Not saying that you cannot go here but the hassle just made think twice about traveling to China.

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Our trip officially starts in Xi’an. We took a red-eye flight from Manila to Beijing and stayed in the airport until our flight at 8:30am. Unlike other international airports like Hong Kong or Singapore, there was barely anyone in the airport past midnight. To our relief, they had a coffee shop that was open until our morning departure. I spent most of my time in the cafe and outside the airport. I guess it was a good time for me to adjust to the cold weather in China during this time of the year.

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From Beijing, we took an hour long flight to Xi’an. We took two cabs to our hotel right when we landed. Our travel took longer than expected. We were weary that the driver might have been circling around the same area to charge us more. English wasn’t an option so I had to use my weak mandarin skills to talk to driver since no one else knew how to speak Chinese in our cab. He politely said that we were already near. Phew!

(As I’m writing this post, I discovered that there’s a strong IT industry in Xi’an. So maybe what looked the same was either their Industrial Zone or housing units)

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Our first stop was to get to the Ancient City Wall. We passed by a park with lots of exercising equipment.

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After a few minutes of walking, we finally reached one of the gates. Xi’an’s ancient city wall is currently in the UNESCO tentative list. Given how beautifully maintained and restored this place is, there’s a pretty good chance that it will be included.

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I was surprised with how massive and long it is when you reach the top. As a tip, I’d recommend that you rent a bike to go around the city walls. Once you start walking, you can only exit through certain areas so you have to finish a whole stretch.

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From the city wall, we went to see the Bell Tower. It is situated in the middle of a busy street. I also went to the nearby post office to send some postcards. This is a routine of mine (with my girlfriend) when we travel. Something to look forward to when we return.

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Our next stop is the Muslim Quarter. This is one of the better street markets I have been in Asia.

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Our last stop for the day is to view the nearby Drum Tower that’s beautifully lit at night. Just like the Bell Tower, we did not enter the inside of the structures anymore.

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We just had dinner at a nearby mall afterwards. Some supermarket beer afterwards for a well-deserved sleep.

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That’s it for our first day in Xi’an!

China Trip – Xian/Jiuzhaigou (Day 3: Terracotta Army)

– The Tourist Pao

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Osaka, Japan (Day 2: Shinsaibashi, Dotonburi)

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On Day 2, we headed toΒ Shinsaibashi andΒ Dotonburi. We stayed here from noon until night time.

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It was my first time to see an actual pachinko. I’ve heard a lot of stories about places like this where customers transact at back-alleys so they can exchange their winnings for real cash (which is “illegal”).

(We actually saw one customer exit through the back but we did not follow. After a few seconds, he re-entered from the same exit and left. Hmm…)

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After our brief stroll, we ate in one of the Japanese style shabu-shabu restaurants for lunch. A saleslady from one of the shops was kind enough to bring us there. I don’t recall the name of the place but the food was great!

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We continued to walk further reachingΒ Dotonburi. This place is so alive! Behold…the famous Glico man.

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I really enjoyed walking around this busy area. Lots of locals and tourists everywhere. Perferct weather for taking pictures and just enjoying the atmosphere of the place.

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During late afternoon, we did a bit of food tripping. We tried some spider crab legs and takoyaki.Can’t complain if I can have these everyday. Now, that’s what you call street food (in Japan)!

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Dotonburi is even more alive at night!

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We ended up grabbing some dinner at a random Japanese restaurant. Food was okay except for theraw baby squid which I really found hard to eat. The taste is quite funky and the texture is very slimy. I will not try this again!

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To cap off our night, we walked further down and ended up taking the train from the Namba Station.

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Still looking forward to the next few days we have in Osaka. So far, so good…

Osaka, Japan (Day 3: Universal Studios Japan)

– The Tourist Pao