Friday, December 28, 2012

China {Xian}

From Beijing we flew to Xi'an for a day.  While we were waiting to pick up our luggage, we saw one of the most bizarre things we've ever seen in all of our travels.  On the carousel where the baggage arrives there were many boxes coming out before the suitcases.  One of the boxes had come open and hanging out of the side was an animal carcass.  A skinned animal {maybe a goat but it 100% could have been a dog by looking at the tail} not packed in ice or anything, just hanging our of a box going around on the conveyor belt.  Unfortunately I was so stunned that I didn't get a photo!

Our first stop in Xi'an was the Banpo Neolithic Museum.  The museum was built around a site that was discovered while they were attempting to build a power plant at the site.  Jason loved every second of it and definitely got his history nerd on. 

From there we traveled to a terra-cotta factory where they make replicas of the famous Terra-Cotta Warriors

Then on to see the Terra-Cotta Warriors and Horses.  These artifacts date back to around 200 BC.

 Over 7,000 pottery soldiers, horses, chariots, and even weapons have been found over the last few decades.  It was really fascinating to see and learn about them.  

 Apparently ordinary men created these warriors, not artists, so each of them are slightly different and most of them resemble faces that were familiar to their creator, like brothers or fathers.

We ate lunch at a restaurant on site and there were chefs making fresh noodles while we ate.  This guy was using a v shaped knife to shave off noodles from a large log of dough.

This man was shaking a long piece of dough over and over, folding it in half every so often, which created super long skinny noodles {that were served in a delicious soup that we consumed multiple bowls of}.  Apparently when President Bush {or maybe Clinton, I can't remember} visited China, one of the top chefs in the country demonstrated how to make noodles this way and was able to create noodles as thin as a strand of hair.  Impressive!

This was on the back of our car in Xi'an.  It made me chuckle.

After the Terra-Cotta Warriors, we ventured through the Muslim Quarter which is famous for it's street food.

I was trying to be sly but this lady caught me and flashed me a smile...I wish I had been focusing on her and not the food!

I have no idea what they were making or serving here and I think I'm better off not knowing!

Chinese "yakitori" or grilled meat. 

At the end of all the food and shops, we ended at the Great Mosque

This was one of my favorite parts of our trip.  I love seeing local people going about their every day activities.

That night we ventured out in search of a restaurant that our guide recommended for dinner.  Unfortunately we never found the restaurant but we had a great evening none the less.

We walked around for quite a while trying to decide where to eat {this is always the most challenging part of traveling for us.  So many options and we don't like to use guide books because, for the most part, we prefer to eat like locals, not tourists}.  Finally we saw a restaurant that had photos outside and a man that greeted us in English and showed us an English menu.  We were sold!  Our waitress had her own agenda though, every time we tried to order something she'd day "no" and point to something else.  Once she said "beef flavor" and once she told us "chicken flavor".  We decided to just go with what ever it was she wanted to serve us.  

That turned out to be interesting.  The beef dish tasted like a peppery cheese steak without the cheese {I don't eat beef but I picked out a lot of the peppers and onions}.  The chicken dish which I was planning to eat was EXTREMELY spicy and when they said chicken, they meant the WHOLE chicken!  It looked like they had taken an entire chicken and chopped it all up and tossed it in sauce with veggies.  Unlike me, Jason was brave enough to try some of the chicken parts we usually don't eat.
Like I said in my post yesterday, there is no one else I'd rather do this with.  I couldn't be as adventurous as I am without him by my side!

There were a few young girls working at the restaurant who kept peeking around the corner to look at us and giggle.  A few times they would be brave enough to say, "hello" then they would run away.  We appreciated their attempt to interact with us.

After dinner we walked around for a bit before heading back to our hotel.

Some of the things we saw them selling at the street markets were mind blowing.  Bullfrogs!?!?!  They were also selling cicadas for consumption.

When we left Xi'an, our flight was cancelled so we had a few hours to kill before our new flight.  We sat at a small cafe reading which is totally common practice for travelers so I didn't think anything of it but in Xi'an, it was like we were caged zoo animals.  There are still many Chinese who have never seen a Westerner and they had no qualms about staring at us.  One woman almost wrecked her luggage cart because she was gawking at us.


Chantal said...

Looks slike fun!!