30 hours in Xi’an

Update: Now with some more detail.

When I finally made it to Xi’an (flight last night was canceled, stayed in airport hotel in Beijing, and then got here at 8am this morning), I quickly made my way around the sights.

I visited the Terracotta Army (incredible, mostly in quantity), the Muslim Quarter (delicious food – Chinese “pizza” and zongzi), and biked around the City Wall at sunset (13.7 km, or 8.5 mi, long). So much fun! Off to Hangzhou tomorrow.

Highlights

  • Being whisked past all the lines by the tour guide I hired to see the Terracotta Army. Well, really just cutting all the lines as her insistence. Pretty awesome. Definitely worth the $15 for the two-hour tour she tried to give in English.
  • Making friends with the owner of a sidewalk stall of his wife’s artwork. He worked in government for 19 years only to be fired when he had his second daughter (illegal here). He wants to move to San Francisco, get a green card (feasible within 5 years, he said), and bring his family over to the US. He also said all the jade (popular in Xi’an) sold at the street stalls is crap imitation, mostly glass. No surprise there.
  • Being asked by the manager of the steamed cold noodle place (also popular in Xi’an) to translate some of the items on the menu to English
  • Continuing my tradition of pretending to be a wedding photographer when I saw a shoot going down on the City Wall. The tradition started at least in Luxor, Egypt, if not before. Off the bike I went to snap away. For a short while, only.

An American’s cultural observations in China

I present a list in no particular order of some things I’ve remarked about the country, its people, and the culture. Some may be generalizations that I shouldn’t generalize about based on what I’ve witnessed, so I apologize in advance, but most things seem pretty common. Feel free to call me out if you feel I’m been overly hasty with any of these observations.
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Flying Air China

On a less-than-two-hour flight from Yichang to Beijing, they served a hot meal of chicken and rice. Impressive! However, chopsticks were mysteriously missing… surprising for a domestic flight. The Chinese around me seemed equally baffled while opening ther packets of plastic flatware.

Update: Happened again from Beijing to Xi’an (chicken and rice again, even), except that flight was less than an hour and a half! Take that U.S. airlines!

Renaming this blog to Bressler’s Bytes

Well I haven’t really posted anything yet, but I’ve decided to rename this blog from “Software, Photography, and Life” to “Bressler’s Bytes.” I never really liked the un-catchiness of the old title, and I think that this new name gives some more direction to what might appear within. Hopefully it will also motivate me to actually start posting!