Ring My Bell




For my last day in Xian, plans dictate a fairly early set off, considering I’ve not bothered ma back side to organise my onward travel.

Up to the train station early doors to see if I can get on the 9.57am to Wuhan tomorrow, but I did not take my passport, what a divvy.  Therefore, a short hop on the metro back down to basically the centre of the city walls where we find the Xi’an bell and drum tower, the geographical centre of the town. Could this be the centre of existence?

It’s a massive wooden tower about 120 feet tall, sitting on a concrete base and comes from the Ming Dynasty. You know him, he was the boy who fought Flash Gordon for the heart of Dale, so quite significant.

Built in 1384 by Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang as a way to dominate the surrounding countryside and provide early warning of attack by rival rulers. The bastard has a spiral staircase that goes up, but her is the doozy knowledge my keen followers. It was built in 1384, but moved some 198 years later, As the city grew, so did its central axis, hence the tower, had to be moved some 3280 feet East. all this means is I had to walk further to see both!

It’s about 3pm and you can feel the heat even before the escalator up and out. The boy behind me has just hocked a big lougie,  ready for hitting the street. Nothing special. An opportunity to take a few videos, especially of the guards who spend parts of the day ‘guarding’ the bell tower in all their regalia. Top gadgies!

I’m hoping I’ve timed it well to hit Muslim Quarter, streets of all manor of food vendors offering everything from Crispy Fried Bread, noodles, doughnuts,  meat on a stick and some crazy spicy tofu potatoes . It’s getting dark and all the ovens are roaring (I stole that photo as never got one), the heat is welcome as it’s a bit nippy. Despite the street being packed, there’s still bikes, mopeds and electric bogies coming and going. What’s unique, I think is there are lots of veggie options.

I settle for the spicy potatoes, I get some flatbread and chicken on a stick and hey presto, a kinda of chicken bagel type thingy, guaranteed to get grease doon ma top, surprise surprise. I’m about 2k from ma gaff, so I’m going to wander it back as tons of small markets are at every turn. Most selling fruit n veg. Some socks and trainers, but quite a few open air butchers?

If you’re easily upset about animal cruelty, I would skip this part. Quite a few ‘birds’, caged and all crammed into the one cage. 8 Cockerels in one, about a dozen pigeons in one no bigger than 3 shoe boxes. The bigger cage has 6 swans of varying size and a couple of ducks. The strangest site was the polystyrene tub, like you get in the fish market, half full with water and tons of Eels swimming around.  I’m sure they were for sale? I should maybe have taken out the tootsies and dunked him in to clean my feet. These markets are quite a sight. Any form of food standards agency would have a field day with all the open meats on offer, but still an experience.




3 thoughts on “Ring My Bell

  1. Always entertaining, Alan, although you are worry, wandering around the world and casually leaving your passport behind – a detail which you’ve left tantalisingly unresolved in this episode.


  2. That anonymous comment about ‘Always entertaining’ was me – I just don’t know how to work this comments thing properly – GH


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