We arrived at Xi’an Railway Station on the north side of the walled city center where we grabbed some tourist material and a metro card. My friend was jealous at my card options.
We made our way to the bus station then went south to what I thought was a hostel near my friend’s friends’ residence, whom we were planning to meet for dinner, but the bookings.com listing was wrong and lead us to an office building with a Tencent office. We thoroughly confused the guards and were let in, satisfying my friend’s curiosity about the office (it was nothing special). Then I asked her to find some Biang Biang noodles to satiate my curiosity for this dish, but in actuality I just liked saying “biang, biang, biang, biang…”
I eventually booked an accommodation closer to the city wall by the South gate, which turned out to be a pretty cool converted traditional building. With bags stowed away, we headed to Muslim Street, a food and tourist street market, where we watched artisans making candies, pork sandwiches, dumplings, stinky tofu, and various other snacks.
We didn’t eat much because we needed to go to the Bell Tower to meet her friend for a hot pot dinner. I was surprised by the similarity to American style hot pot, except they mix all the sauces together, which didn’t make sense because the sauce should just come premixed!
As a foreigner, you can get away with a lot of things just by using English, pretending to not understand, but insisting that you know where you’re going. Pointing to a map on your phone also adds legitimacy. Please use common sense when using this tactic or you might go to jail.