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Xi'an/China General News
The Clay Things
Xi’an was the second leg of our trip. Josh really wanted to see the “Terracotta Warriors.” Knowing absolutely nothing about China before the trip, I began to refer to them as “The Clay Things.” Not because I didn’t know their name, but because I didn’t understand the logic of taking an 18 hour train ride to the near middle of the country to see them.

It was decided long ago that Josh was the tour guide, and we were doing what he wanted. I was game for anything really. Getting There: Actually, the overnight train from Beijing to Xi’an was only 12 hours long, which wasn’t too bad. Since it was two hours late (we left at 11:30 pm), Josh and I went right to bed. It always helps when you share a room with 4 Chinese people, because staying up chatting with new friends was not really an option.

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The train is full.
Well, I'm not just saying all the seats have been taken; yes, they are indeed, but more than that-- all the space on the train is taken. "3 hours, only 3 hours left!" The guy next to me did his routine job again. "Shut up!" That's what really I want to tell him. Past 23 hours, He's been counting down the time left every 20 minutes. Totally annoying. Time seems to pass slowly when we pay attention to it, so I usually take off my watch and don't check time that often. When I'm alone, I could deal with the slow train pretty well, but this time, I couldn't wait to get out of this goddamn train.

It's the worst train I've ever seen, probably the worst and oldest train in China. I was kinda disappointed when I first saw it. Hard seat, I've got a real hard seat this time--as hard as cement. And it's hot inside the train. No air-conditioner, the rotations of the ceiling fans are whipping stale air against my head. The windows are always open, dusty and noisy.

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Xi'an: A Market Report
Since the 1999 launch of the national Great Western Development Strategy, Xi’an has grown rapidly as a major gateway to western China. With annual economic growth exceeding 13 percent, the city was spared the effects of the global financial crisis that affected China’s coastal areas. Xi’an’s rapid development has boosted incomes and fueled development of its food market sharply increasing interest in high quality imported foods.

Demand is also being driven by the city’s rapidly growing tourist sector, which is attracted by famous sites such as the 2,300-year old terracotta warriors. In the years to come, increasing development will make Xi’an a “must do” Emerging City Market in northern China. Located near the geographical center of China, Xi’an is the largest city in the northwest. It is also the capital of Shaanxi Province and its largest population center. Of the 37 million people in the province, Xi’an is home to 8.2 million.

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Zhou Yu's Train
I watched a Gong Li movie the other day, the title of the movie is Zhou Yu's Train (Zhou Yu de huo che -- in Chinese). Gong Li (English info) was and still is probably one of the most famous Chinese actresses, she used to team up with Zhang Yimou a lot, they've made some quite well known movies together, and both of them have achieved some international fame.

Rumor says they had an affair, breaking up is the reason they don't work together anymore. (Anyway, I believe the rumor.) Going back to Zhou Yu's train: I liked it, I thought I wouldn't: The plot is nothing special -- a love story between a woman and two men, sounds cliche, and I hate most love stories. This movie turns out to be pretty good though, I think it's a smart movie: set in modern times, the way they arrange the scenes is creative, the locations they choose are stunning, and the acting is good. I won't call it a great movie, it's nice enough.

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Photo of the Day: Nice to meat you
Photo of the Day: Nice to meat you More photos on the Shanghaiist Contribute page. To see your photos on our Contribute page, use Flickr and tag your photos “shanghaiist”. Or you can email your photos to This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it and they will automatically appear on our site (and here). [ more › ]

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