The Return of Tourism


Last weekend we finally traveled some in China. And just in case you want to know–if you’re visiting China as a tourist, Xi’an is a great place to start. It’s a beautiful city–way prettier than Beijing!

We left Saturday afternoon at around 4:00 p.m and took a high speed train that went 300 km an hour. It  was amazing how quickly it got us there–1080 km and 6 hours later, we were in Xi’an.

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The inside of the train

Sadly, however, SOMEONE was stupid and left her Kindle behind. So for 6 hours or so, I had nothing to do but take pictures of the dark windows, which led to (I regret to say it) train window selfies. Yeah, I know. Pretty lame. But what’s a girl to do when she has nothing to read?

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I like to call this one “Girl with a Camera.” Sounds more artistic that way.
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And this one makes me look slightly ethereal and like I’m on fire. . .

Once we got there, we were in for a bit of a problem. It was 10:00 at night, and we had no idea where anything was. I’ll skip all the boring details of how many people we asked for directions and how we had printed out directions to the WRONG hostel that we didn’t have reservations for and so ended up there at 11:00 at night, but yes. We survived.

In the morning, we went to church, which was amazing, and wandered around Xi’an for a little while. We stumbled across this really neat street which we had been meaning to visit anyways–it’s called Muslim Street, because I guess it’s where the Muslims in Xi’an sold their food and stuff–and walked around for about an hour and a half. It sort of turned into a maze by the end and we weren’t sure how to get out!.

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As you can see, there were hordes of people!
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A bread stall

Some of them tried to charge us exorbitant amounts (Jared thought they must be unionized or something), but we made it out of there without losing too much money.

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See that bread in the very back? The man tried to charge us 30 kuai for it! By contrast, the ones in the front were only 5.
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On the right of the picture is the grill they use to grill their meat (usually lamb) on a stick.
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Jared with his favorite thing.

This meat on a stick might just be one of the best reasons to come to China. It’s so flavorful and tasty that you’ll always want to make your meat this way. Or maybe move to China just to get it.

As we walked further along, we kept hearing these strange pounding noises. Looking around, we spotted these men with giant hammers pounding something (we never did quite figure out what it was or why it needed pounding). It looks like some sort of candy, but it was too expensive, so we didn’t try it.

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The giant rope thing is like taffy, I think–the kind you have to pull to get to the right consistency. That kid is clearly not impressed.
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Because a goat’s head makes everything better!
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Does he look Chinese yet?

This hat has a funny story. We were walking down the street and Jared picked it up to try it on (it’s just like the ones that the Chinese policemen wear). He asked the lady how much it was, and she said 80 Yuan. That was too expensive, so we started walking away, and she kept calling numbers after us–50? 40? 30? 25? She was really desperate! We still didn’t buy it, though.

You’re probably about pictured out, so I’ll leave you with a picture of a Chinese person cooking soup. He may need to update his equipment soon, I think.

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Yes, that’s fire.

Have I convinced you to come to Xi’an? If not, stay tuned for more pictures and commentary (though I can’t promise it will be more interesting than this post was.)

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9 thoughts on “The Return of Tourism

  1. Hi,Annika! Nice trip, isn’t it? If you want to know, the “candy” you mentioned in your 9th pic is called peanut cake(花生糕). They pound it to make sure the pieces of peanuts distribute uniformly. The milky one which a man is stretching is ginger candy. Nice trip and I wish I could visit Xi’an someday. 🙂

  2. RC

    You look so sad in that second selfie. 😦 It looks like you had a lot of fun in Xi’an, though!!! 😀 How long did you spend there?

  3. Caleb Nelson

    You look remarkably like Anna Eison in the second selfie. But I certainly feel your pain. Six hours with nothing to read?

    1. Really? I don’t see it–but I guess it wouldn’t be impossible since we are cousins, after all. And yes, six hours with nothing to read (except Jared took pity on me after a while and loaned me his Economist) gets quite long. It was miserable.

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