Ping Tracker

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

4/3 - Xi'an, Part 1

(I didn't use the internet while I was in Xi'an, so this is a little dated)


Today I went to Xi'an with Jing - met some cool people on the train and got to practice my Chinese, although it could have been better (but I guess it can alway be better). I gotta talk about the train - dude, it sucked. We didn't take a sleeper car because of prices, so we sat in hard, unmoving seats from 10:00pm to 7:30am. Couldn't sleep much. Without a doubt, the best part was the students who sat across from us who we got to know, they were really cool and after we got off the train, we had breakfast with them. I gave one of them my QQ and I hope that she will keep in contact with me :)Anyway, back to the good stuff.
Xi'an seems to be a really cool city - it the streets are a lot like Beijing - some parts of the sidewalks are copy/paste. I guess that's Communist planning for you. It provided a little sense of familiarity and brought back a lot of good memories - a lot of my best experiences here have been in Beijing, so I'm always glad to relive them :)

Jing's friend here is cool - but it's frustrating sometimes because they both speak their local Ding Xi dialect and it's nothing like Mandarin, so when they talk, I can understand absolutely nothing. I tried - really tried to listen and understand, but it is just really different. I guess that I've now experienced a little bit of the regionalism of China. They are old friends from middle school, so I am not hating on them for speaking it, I completely understand! If I ran into someone from Tyler or Dallas here, I'd totally speak fast and slang-filled English - it'd be a nice reminder of home! In the airport, I showed her most of my iPhoto pictures of Colorado and Tyler, and for the first time I got homesick. It didn't last long, but it was not a pleasant feeling - just like an empty hole filled with longing for familiarity and the reliving of memories of family, home, and my favorite state, Colorado. New Orleans is still my favorite city, but I love Colorado the most overall - I don't think Louisiana as a whole can compete with Colorado. 

I spent most of the day with Jing at the Tang Paradise park. It's a restoration/commercialization of the dynasty's fabled gardens in Chang'an (present day Xi'an). It's a really big place - I think it's over 165 acres, which doesn't sound like much, but that's a lot to cover in 3 or 4 hours, we were both really tired. Her friend (I can't remember his name….sorry, dude) was trying to buy the equivalent of a season pass to the park and the line was forever long, so he told us to go on ahead and have a good time. He lives in Xi'an, so he said he had plenty of time to visit later.

One thing I love about Xi'an is that the upkeep is infinitely better than Lanzhou. Being a city that attracts a good amount of tourists, it is pretty clean and for the first time since living in Lanzhou, I saw green plants. I know that doesn't sound like anything worth writing about, but think about it - if you had only seen brown grass and trees that had not begun to come out of hibernation for a month coupled with tons of dirt and dust, you'd be excited about lots of green foliage too. I took a lot of videos and pictures, so you can compare the two places - there's a huge difference. 

Tomorrow we're going to the Shaanxi Provincial Museum and climbing Li Shan (Shan means 'mountain' in Chinese). We might go see the Terra Cotta Warriors as well if we have time. We're going to do that, without a doubt - it's a must for Xi'an, and really any historical trip to China. 
I'm really super tired, so I'll go to bed now. Talk to you guys later!

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