Day #1 started out with a morning flight from Beijing to Xi’an. The flight was only about 2 hours long so we arrived just after midday. Xi’an is a smaller city than Beijing, only about 9 million people versus 20+ million, so the charm of the city is slightly more evident. It’s just funny how in china a city of this size is considered small when it could probably rival NYC, give or take a few million people. But the whole country is estimated to have over 1.3 billion, so I guess I can understand, lol.
If I haven’t mentioned it before, I’ll mention it now. A lot of our meals were included in the price of the trip and I can honestly say that everything we’ve eaten has been very good, especially considering, as was the case today, that our meal was in an airport restaurant. White rIce is almost always the staple item but we always get a variety of dishes to go with it (chicken, pork, beef and and/or fish). Bok choi has become a favorite in addition to cabbage, steamed or sautéed, spicy or not, still yummy. One day we had spicy green beans that were out of this world and another day there was a spicy cauliflower. There’s always soup and hot tea with every meal. In most restaurants they serve the food lazy Susan style and you just spin the glass to get what you want.
Our first stop after lunch was the XXX museum. This is kind of a sneak preview of what we’ll see tomorrow when we visit the Terracotta Warriors museum, which I’m really excited to see. Our guide Patrick and our local guide Jenny have told us the story of how way back in 1974 a farmer was digging on his land and came across this find. They date back about 2000 years and represent the emperors own personal army with horses for the after life. It seems that ancient Chinese people would often bury with them anything they felt they needed for their life after death, so in this case, the emperor built an entire army. What is supposed to be so amazing about the statues is how life like and personal each statue is, down to the details in their face. I can’t wait to see it for myself, especially after the sneak preview at the museum.
After our visit at the museum, we stop by the Muslim quarters, which is a tiny neighborhood in Xi’an inhabited by Muslim Chinese people. The Main Street is made up of various shops and stores selling everything from dried fruits and nuts, souvenir type items, books, clothes
and even prepared food. I even saw quail eggs being cooked on a food cart. As has become the norm, you have people approaching you to buy this or that, sometimes following you down the street trying to get you to buy something.
For dinner this evening some of us have purchased the optional dumpling dinner. We had the opportunity to taste about 17 different types of dumplings. Some were pork, some were chicken, some seafood. They even had a dumpling shaped and colored like a walnut. Since I don’t really like nuts I didn’t taste that one but I heard it was great.
Time is starting to really fly by….stay tuned for my next post.