Friday, December 30, 2011

The Wonderful Thing About Tiggers

Christmas Eve: French-style Japanese teppanyaki with Matt and Megan. Meat, seafood, rice, fruit, veggies, wine. Yum.

Christmas at DisneyEnglish: Wore pajamas, listened to Christmas music, 2 turkeys and a ham potluck Christmas lunch, and a new class.
Christmas Lunch at DisneyEnglish

Due to rescheduling, I had Monday off, so I got some chores done before I took my first intra-China flight to Xi'an. Getting to the airport was a bit of a challenge, but I had no problem navigating once I arrived there. In Xi'an, I met up with my host for the weekend, Andrew. A former/fellow Disney cast member who I met at the Chinese embassy when I was getting my visa back in August.

Xi'an is the capital of Shaanxi province, and it was the capital during the Song Dynasty, at which time it was apparently much larger than it is now. It's also konwn for the Terracotta Warriors.

Andrew and I had breakfast at the market Tuesday and went to the statue marking the beginning of the Silk Road. He took me to do some book and DVD shopping - I bought The Giving Tree in Chinese. One day I will be able to read it. Then we had a yummy lunch of pao moa, breaded noodle soup stuff. Then I went on adventure to the train station to catch a bus to the Terracotta Warriors, where I was accosted by a tour guide, but got some nice extra information and to see the farmer who discovered them.
Statue marking the Beginning of the Silk Road
Terracotta Warriors - Pit 1

The Terracotta Warriors were created to guard the tomb of Emperor Qin Shihuang. The project started when he was 13 and took 700,000 laborers 38 years to complete. You can only see into 3 of the over 600 pits. The soldiers that have been reassembled look complete - you could never tell that they had been smashed into pieces over the years. Except for the pieces laying in the parts of the pit where archaeologists are still digging. It's quite a work in progress. (Perhaps there will be a Spanish archaeologist working there one day.)
Beiyuanmen Street
When I returned from the warriors, I explored the city center and the famous snack street in the Muslim quarter, and we went out with some of Andrew's co-workers. Wednesday was another full day of touring, beginning with the Shaanxi History Museum. Then onto the famous culture street for some window shopping and the city wall - completely intact around the city center. We walked it until we got tired, since bikes were not available for some reason, and saw the beginnings of Xi'an's Chinese New Year decorations. If the decorations are any indication, it's going to be quite a spectacle.
Xi'an City Wall
We returned to the Muslim quarter for lunch (rou sham boa? - a kind of meat  and found our way to the Great Mosque. It's large and lovely. In one hall, there are engravings of the Koran on tablets in Chinese and Arabic. The details of the buildings are quite ornate. We sadly were not allowed into the prayer hall.
The Great Mosque
Mosque Courtyard

After Andrew played a quick game of badmitton with a Chinese man - I'm pretty sure the most fun he had all day - we took a cab back to his apartment, and I began my final adventure of getting back to the airport for my flight. Note: ALWAYS plan extra time for this, especially during rush hour. Between cab, bus, and airport shuttle, it took me 2.5 hours to get to the airport, which was longer than the flight took.

All in all, a fabulous final trip for the end of the year.

Note: Theoretically, the comments section will be fixed soon so that you can add comments. I know this has been a problem for many people. Sorry! Happy New Year!

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