Monday, October 1, 2007

National Day in Xi'An

We got up early this morning and grabbed a cab to the airport in Hangzhou, and jumped on a plane to Xi'An, home of the Terra Cotta Soldiers.  We had a nice 2 hour flight, extra nice because Sophie slept most of the time!  The boys visited with each other and played a little gameboy and enjoyed drinking soda during their ride.

Xian 162Sophie used her string toy to tie up one of the waitresses at the airport.  The waitress sure was a good sport!  She was also the hostess and Sophie stood with her to welcome the customers into the restaurant.

We also met a nice Danish family there who also live in Hangzhou so maybe we will see them again once we return.




Hangin' out in the airplane...

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This is the typical pose that the Chinese do when having their picture taken, so how could I resist?








... and finally we made it to our hotel in Xi'An, where Sue asked our taxi driver to take this photo of the 5 of us under the Happy National Day sign.

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National Day in China is akin to 4th of July in the U.S.  Flags were flying high and there were many celebrations, and it's the reason we have this next week off!  We love National Day!

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This man stared and STARED at our whiteness, which was doubly confusing given that Sophie was running around at our feet.  He finally go the message to stop staring when I took out my big camera and snapped a closeup of him!  I figured turnabout was fair play, except maybe he doesn't know his picture is going on the net! Tee hee!



This is the beautiful Bell Tower across from our hotel, one of the attractions of Xi'An.  It dates from the 14th century and was rebuilt by the Qing dynasty at the present location in 1739.  Musical performances are held inside the tower every afternoon and most mornings, according to our guide but we haven't seen any yet!

Xian 005 Xian 010The kids were tired by the time it was time to eat, so I'm ashamed to say we ate at McDonald's - a 2 story monstrosity that can probably hold close to 1000 people.  Sue ordered 5 cheeseburgers and the cashier looked like she didn't understand Sue's English, so I jumped in and ordered 5 #2 cheeseburger meals in Chinese.  Guess what, we got BOTH the 5 cheeseburgers AND the 5 cheeseburger meals, a total of 10 burgers!  Arrgh!  The kids each had a couple of burgers and I felt like I ate a giant gut bomb.  Yeccho!

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This is our hotel where we'll be staying the next 5 nights; It's a nice hotel and we have 2 rooms, right in the center of town.

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Sue bought a flag from this budding young communist for National Day and Sophie loved waving it around!

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The underground passages beneath the bell tower and the hotels and shops make it much safer to cross the street rather than dodging traffic!

Xian 035 Xian 041This little boy loved watching Peter and Jack but was too shy to come too close.

He is definitely of the "little emperor" generation where the only child is given perhaps too much and ends up looking fairly portly!  However the number of overweight Chinese that we've seen in the 60 days we've been here could probably be counted on one hand!



However the boy below. although shy as well,  was forced by his parents to take a picture with Peter, Jack and Sophie.  Here they are grinning for his parents' camera.

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This building is the Drum Tower and marks the entrance to the Muslim Quarter of Xi'An, called Beiyuanmen, which is a restored street of traders and craftspeople.

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As you can see, the street was very crowded and we were told to watch for pickpockets, but we didn't see any.

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Can you pick us out of the crowd?

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Many wares for sale...

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Some kind of small candied fruit was being cooked up by these two.  We saw many people with them but didn't try them ourselves yet.

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The boys did try this item though - some kind of flour mixture dipped in sugar.  How can you go wrong with that??

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Peter found this really cool calligraphy store with brushes of ANY size for those bigger calligraphy projects.

Xian 070 These guys were preparing some sort of street meet - who knows what kind of Roast Beast it might be?

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... many people milling about the Muslim quarter.

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Jack and Peter loved the dried fruit there.  We bought some dried kiwi and various kinds of nuts.  Yummy!

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... all kinds of interesting things to taste!

Xian 085 Xian 086This girl was roasting Brazil nuts in this cauldron with some kind of spice.  You can see the fire in the barrel - very hot, smoky work!








And this woman is getting dishes of noodles ready to sell.  Looks Goooooood!

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This man was trying to get his package of walnuts through the crowds, and having a difficult time with all of the (mostly Chinese) tourists.

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Jack and Sophie playing with some wood toys.

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A nice little tea shop that looked very attractive.

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This guy was selling a ball with a colorful kite string attached and he was very drunk, so he was having a good time selling his wares and posed for this shot.

The boys were enamored with this toy and they each bought one.  Then they went to the grass to try them out and drew quite a crowd!  If I would have had a hat, I would have passed it around!  Many people took out their cell phones and took pictures of them.


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Social Sophie enjoyed playing with any little kid she could find, and I had to go to a mall after this to find some bedtime milk for her - it was a HUGE mall but I found some, eventually!

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... and finally some night shots of the Bell Tower

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Tomorrow is the Terra Cotta soldiers and I'm very excited to go there!  We signed up with an English speaking tour so we could get some history, but it's 9am - 5:30pm so hopefully the kids will hold up!


Catherine said...

I'm excited to read about your reactions to Xi'an. We really enjoyed it there - and the warrior installation is incredible. When you see the location of the well that was dug that unearthed the first big chunk - then compare that little spot with the size of the installation - it's amazing they found it when they did. Also - that the entire original site was destroyed about 35 years after being built - and the soldiers were smashed to bits in the process... and you realize just how much work was put into the restoration.


Anonymous said...

Hi All,
It's so fun to see pictures from where I'm going to be soon. Tim, your blog is wonderful and I'm so impressed it's so portable that you can do it while "on vacation"!
Peter, and Jack I really enjoyed reading your remarks on the tidal bore. Boy, you have learned a lot about how to write well in your young years! Have you ever heard of the Bay of Fundi in Nova Scotia? There too is a huge tidal change which I witnessed,though I don't think it is huge as what you saw! So glad you all are continuing to have SO MUCH FUN! Love you all! Grandma Kapi

Bob & Amy said...

Hi vacationers - enjoy your holiday! Looks like a great destination. Glad you are drinking it all in. Have fun at the soldiers!
Love, The Mahers

Anonymous said...

I noticed that the people watching the boys were dressed a little
heavier with pants and long sleeves.Your children are great!
Curious in US