Barry Soper: John Key's China visit a disruption to city

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John Key with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Photo / Greg Bowker
John Key with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Photo / Greg Bowker

Xian's like its name, a small Chinese city of just eight million, but what it lack in size it makes up for in grunt in more ways than one.

On the outskirts of this inland city is a port, yes that's what they call it, complete with a wharf.

It's the new start of the Silk Road and it's a 45 square kilometre city on the outer rim of a city which moves produce mainly by rail from around the world.

There are warehouses the size of rugby fields. Walking through the vast pharmaceutical storage area it conjured up images of Walt from Breaking Bad working away in a meth lab, undetected in some far flung corner.

For once in this ceremonious country John Key didn't have to sign anything, he was just there to be impressed and it was hard not to be.

Then it was off to Mojo's for lunch, right in the New Zealand hub of this teaming city.

You heard right, Mojos, that Kiwi coffee company, here to change the green tea habit of a lifetime into the love of latte, complete with a silver fern design in the froth, much to the amusement of the bewildered locals.

Super charged, the Key Kiwi road show sped off as a motorcade to inconvenience hundreds who'd paid good money for a tour of the mind blowing Terracotta Warriors, a true wonder of the archaeological world. They were left waiting behind a police line in the heat for several hours while Kiwis trooped around, being treated to a detailed explanation of the countless statues frozen in time.

It's hard to believe the first of them was uncovered as the soil was being tilled in 1974.

A more realistic explanation is that to disturb the dead in the Cultural Revolution was to become one of them, dead that is. So farmers coming across a fragment of what was the marvel living beneath them was more than likely swept under the potato patch.

The city's traffic once again came to a standstill with the only high speed vehicles being those occupied by the Kiwi trade invasion on their way to the ancient Grand Mosque of Xian where the benefits of travelling with what the Chinese describe as a distinguished person became apparent.

It was shoes off and head scarfs on for the women visiting this incredible wooden structure, usually open only to Moslems but to normal people if they're distinguished enough.

It was hard not to reflect that the distinguished and reverent men who showed our entourage around were from the same religion, but in their case far removed, that destroy what we'd just come from in the name of Islam.

Debate on this article is now closed.

- Newstalk ZB

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