西‘安 Xi’an

Our trip began in Xi’an. Deanna arrived late in the evening on December 29th. Jason went with me to the airport. That evening I opened my suitcase full of gifts (thanks Mom and Dad!) and other necessities I had asked for. Deanna had an early start the next day as I had planned for her to go with Immo to see the Terracotta Warriors (兵马俑). In the afternoon, as Linda spent the morning baking with Ma Ying, we had afternoon tea (really coffee) with Sara and Sandro. In addition to Sara and Sandro’s company Dee, Jason, Linda, Immo, Ma Ying and I were also present. I made coffee with the Starbucks coffee and French press Deanna brought me. In the evening, we attended the New Year’s Reception that is held annually for the foreign teachers of XISU. I won’t discuss much more as I believe Deanna is interested in making some comments about this event. She will be guest posting so be on the lookout for that! 
The following day we went with Linda and Immo to the Muslim Quarter, Hui Ming Jie. We ate 羊肉跑镆,bread and mutton soup. After venturing up and down the streets for a bit, we went into one of the Mosques. It is less frequented by tourists so it was free. There is some interesting architecture in the Western Mosque, the Great Mosque is the really famous one. In particular, there is a blue building in which the windows are shaped much like traditional buildings in Turkey. It feels more Middle Eastern and seems rather out of place in the middle of Xi’an. After Hui Ming Jie, Deanna and I walked to Art Street. Interesting side note: As we were walking towards Art Street, we passed three of my students from my MICE class. I wish I had a picture of their faces because they were besides themselves with excitement. We parted and since we were passing one of the two Starbucks located downtown, we decided to head on in. We even were able to receive Deanna’s employee discount. Starbucks became a rather frequent adventure for us during our travels. For dinner, I had organized a group of friends and colleagues as a sort of meet and greet in addition to Deanna having a good opportunity to taste many dishes. We went to the neighboring university’s campus restaurant. We were joined by Chris, John, Linda, Immo, Ma Ying, Hui Li and her cousin, and Meg. After dinner, Hui Li was insistent on taking Deanna and I on a car tour through the Tang Dynasty park, adjacent to the Big wild Goose Pagoda. As it was just after Christmas and Chinese New Year is just around the corner, the park was decorated with lights, not a tree was spared….typical! Later in the evening, we headed to Park Qin to ring in the New Year in style. Jason had to work, but we at least had the chance to chat with him. Linda, Immo, and Ma Ying joined us. It was Ma Ying’s first ever bar experience.

On our last day in Xi’an we visited the Big Wild Goose Pagoda. Unfortunately, due to time constraints, we did not go into the Pagoda. It was also quite hazy that day, so to pay around 70元/person didn’t seem entirely productive. In the evening, Jason took the bus with us to the train station, to properly say his goodbyes. About 17 hours later, we arrived in Chengdu…

Muslim Quarter
NYE’s Reception. Food, mediocre. Company, excellent. From L to R: Gareth, Mike, me, Dee, Meg, Chris, and John 
Art Street
Deanna, chinese photo style, at the West Street Mosque
Dee and I at Park Qin. Yes, she is wearing fake glasses. These were part of my halloween costume this year. She tried them on and LInda and I convinced her that they looked good (they did!). As this is China, and Chinese girls wear them all the time, no one paid any attention to such a thing. In the States, well that would be an entirely different situation!
Dee, me, and Linda. 
Dee at the Big Wild Goose Pagoda park. 

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