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    Xian...

    John Tubles May 10 '10 2

    As i selfishly pressed my head on the airplane window like a 5yr old... one thing that i notice is that xian is like an oasis in an arrid desert... Literally... I think its uncharacteristically hot right now in the shianxi province which dried up most of the land but the city of xian remained green... tree lined, landscaped and even in some places grand water features...

    The city of xian, like other major cities of china, is growing in a rapid pace... It is obvious in the wide-spread demolisions and constructions.... Having lived in los angeles and almost everything that is atleast 50 years old is considered historical... the thought of demolishing a some-hundreds-of-years-old neighborhood to build the asia's biggest square complete with a very commercial reproduction of historical buildings which proudly holds a baskin & robbins ice cream and poor immitation of starbucks, seems unfathomable... But thats the thing, in china they have so much history that losing some neighborhood is fine as long as it contributes to the greater cause (world domination...hahahaha...jk) of making china a first world country....

    So with all these changes who are affected the most... the people of course... But the people of xian seems to be taking everything in good stride... A friend of mine told me to be extra careful in xian because people here are more poverished than in beijing or shanghai... so at first i was very vigilant... like guile in street fighter... but after the first day i realized that people of xian are nicer, friendlier and more down to earth than people from beijing... People give up seats for women and old people, vendors are not as pushy here as beijing... And i got real smiles from my encounters with people....

    my favorite part of xian is people watching in the railway station... It is filled with different types of people... From local travelers to foreign tourists, families waiting and parting and vendors of all sorts to transients sleeping under the shade of the wall... This place seems to be one of the important nodes in this city... Speaking of the wall, in the olden (old+golden) times of xian, the city is fortified by a wall along its 14km perimeter... This wall was meant as a protection and separate the outsiders if needed... Today you can rent a bike on top of this wall and see how the people live both inside and outside this city... Its interesting to see how people adjusted and lived with this natural barrier....the scale inside the wall is compact and outside is bigger, naturally... But the difference is that there is the same amount of traffic that happens inside the wall and outside... Meaning the wall has not separated the city...

    So as i, again, pressed my head in to the airport bus shuttle window and watch the vibrant city of xian start its day, i look back on what made an impression on me... Not the terracotta soldiers nor mt. Huashan, not the historically significant sites nor the eclectic food... its the people and how welcoming, helpful and pleasant they are...


    P.S.
    ...I know its not a letter its a blog but...
    I lied the food also made an impression on me... It redefined my idea of chinese food... It was spicy but in an indian way... I had this noodle dish that has this very deliciously thick peanut sauce and chilli oil... And this grilled beef on a skewer that i believed used coriander, 5spice, cumin, fennel, some chillies and iono what else but it was GOOOOOOOD...

     

     
    • 2 Comments

    • wittyusername
      May 11, 10 1:20 pm

      Weird! A group of students from UCLA's China studio just arrived in Shanghai from Xi'an literally a few hours ago. We also did the whole Terra-Cotta thing as well as Huashan, but the best part was the food for sure. I think both Westwood and Pomona have plenty to learn from the whole cultural atmosphere surrounding street food in Xi'an.

      John Tubles
      May 12, 10 2:02 am

      weird... Im actually in shanghai expo in the finnish pavillion freeloading on their wifi... But when you get a chance go inside of it... Its cool but the coolest one is i think germany... Long line but a good pavillion... Oh and if your entering the expo enter from gate 8 its the fastest... arrive at around 9:30 bec i did and it only took me 10 mins to enter the expo site...

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