Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Xi'an Experience and yes, it is an experience

I am presently in Xi'an, China on vacation with some friends. I know, you have no idea where Xi'an is. Qingdao is North Carolina then Xi'an would be souther Arkansas (in location only). It has been awesome and a little disturbing all at once. Here's list of things I've done/that have happened to me.

  • Rode a train for 21 hours on the top (of three) bunks with my friend Kayla.
    The bed was so close to the ceiling that I wasn't able to sit
  • Made friends with my four other bunk-mates and gave them gifts for Chun Jie.
  • Met Justin in Xi'an (he was here for week before we got here.) He planned
    the whole trip.
  • Stayed in an amazing hostel and ate delicious food, met fun Chinese and
    western people (mostly Europeans or Aussies), had a comfortable private
    room...just a really great place.
  • Got to see/hear traditional Chinese dancing and music. Beautiful.
  • Saw the Terracotta Warriors. It really was amazing. Even got to meet (okay,
    just snuck a picture) of the farmer that discovered the Warriors.
  • Visited one of the largest mosques in China. It was huge and could've been
    magical, I think. The problem was, there were some little Chinese kids there who
    decided to follow us around and scream the "f" word at least 100 times. I
    literally felt DIRTY when we left. It hurt my feelings a little too.
  • Went to The Big Goose Pagoda to watch the light show and ended up missing it
    because we discovered a Dairy Queen. But the Pagoda was still amazing.
  • Was so disgusted from seeing throwup and poop on the ground, from smelling
    awefulness and from the general dirtiness of the city that I had to stop in
    Starbucks and make myself throwup just to feel a little better. This is 'real' China as compared to my very westernized city of Qingdao.

Today is our last day and I think the only thing we have planned is to go to the Muslim area and have Yang Rou Pao Mo (lamb soup) in all it's delciousness. Even with all the weird/dirty things(that really only add character to the trip), this has been one of the best vacations ever. Great friends, lots of laughs, too many new experiences to count, incredible ancient history, once in a life time sightseeing (the good, the bad and the ugly), it couldn't be any better.

The pictures are in no particular order as I am too lazy to figure out how to rearrange them...

Justin, Kayla and Me at the Terracotta Warriors.

The Muslim Soup...lamb, broth and chunks of pita bread. Delish!

Top bunk on the train.

The Big Goose Pagoda

The Muslim Mosque

The Chinese Show

An ironic picture. Old meets new.

My new friend Tom. This is my favorite picture of the trip. I sang karaoke and this was his reaction. It's not even about my singing. It's about the mere shock on his face. I just love it.

Year of the Tiger

China is full of traditions and holidays. I mostly love them because that means time off of school for me. Besides that though, it's always interesting to learn about another culture so indepthly (is that really a word?). Chinese New Year (Chun Jie) is coming up on February 14th. It's China's biggest holiday, like our Christmas. They set of bazillions of fireworks, eat jiaozi (dumplings) and give gifts. It's a really big deal. Each year is assigned an animal- you can read here if you'd like to know more about it. This is the year of the Tiger. If you were born in 2010, 1998, 1986, 1974, 1962, 1950, 1938, 1926, are a Tiger. Go here if you'd like learn more about your tiger-self.

Anyway, because half of our staff is Chinese, we had a big Chun Jie Party last week to celebrate with them. We gave each other gifts, ate A LOT of jiaozi and meat on a stick, and had a talent show. And of course, I had to participate in all of it. I made jiaozi, cut paper pictures, ate lots of food and sang in the talent show.

The following is a video from the show. A friend and I took a famous American song, "Hero" by Mariah Carey, changed the lyrics, and added a powerpoint. The sound's a little rough but you can read most of the lyrics. Enjoy!