The legend, ‘The most charming ancient capital – Xian’ is written in seven languages on this poster, with English coming in last place.
Curiously, for me, this poster was on the departure side at the airport in Xi’an when I passed through in 1991. Maybe it was to inform departing travelers what they were leaving behind. Or maybe it’s because you have no choice but to linger on the departing side whereas on arrival you just pass through to get your bags.
Top left in the poster is the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda. The prettier Small Wild Goose Pagoda doesn’t appear to be represented. The hangar shaped building below the plane disgorging it’s brightly colored passengers represents the building erected over the Terracotta warriors to protect them from the elements and on the right are some of those warriors. There’s one of the ancient city gates and depictions of the old city walls but I’m at a loss to explain what all the colored flags mean but they probably represent local industries and culture.
The central crowd of tourists are an eclectic bunch though the westerner on the left with the grey beard, longer hair and sunglasses looks a little creepy.
The title itself has that flavor of Chinglish – a translation from the Chinese that is probably accurate word-for-word but loses something in translation by translating at the word level rather than the phrase level. One particular example of Chinglish that sticks in my mind was the instructions on a pack of lens cleaning papers I once had. It read, ‘After cleaning the dirt and dust are hardly stained’, whatever that was supposed to mean.
I doubt this poster still exists. I would think by now that Xi’an has a newer, more modern, airport and that this building, if not the poster, has long since been torn down. Xi’an was presented to me in 1991 as a sleepy tourist destination. Today it’s an emerging megacity with a population of over 7 million.