Sunday, April 14, 2013
OUR LAST DAY IN XI'AN
After our busy and tiring day yesterday we really took it easy today. We took advantage of the laundry facilities in our hotel to do a load of laundry while we had breakfast, and I spent some time reconfirming flights, etc.
We left about 10:30 to wander around the Muslim quarter near our hotel. We'd taken a short stroll in that area on our first afternoon, but thought we'd explore a little more today. It's an interesting area, full of small shops and street vendors. We came across a small beauty/barber shop and David decided to get his hair cut (or should I say get his head shaved??) A nice young man did a very thorough job for about $3. They even gave me a cup of tea while I waited for him.
David getting his head shaved (hair cut?)
We'd really been loooking forward to eating some street food in this area, as we'd read glowing reviews about how good it was. We just haven't been able to get past our concerns about cleanliness and food safety, and honestly most of it does not look good OR smell good! We've eaten street food in many other cities and countries, but Xi'an street food hasn't tempted us at all.
Big pot of soup boiling--didn't smell very good ;[
Just one of the many reasons we didn't eat any street food in Xi'an--raw meat on the street, next to a live bird cage.
Roast duck--head and all:
This bread looked very good:
Eggs for sale! What is the sawdust like covering??
We did try one small street snack today, a steamed glutinous rice cake with peanuts and sesame seeds--I really liked it, David didn't.
In our wanderings we came across another mosque and went in to take a look around. It was very pretty, but after being in Turkey last year, it seems strange to us to see Chinese architecture and decoration in a mosque! Unlike in Turkey, it is not required to remove one's shoes before entering. And just like in Turkey--they have call to prayer several times each day--but at least it's not right outside our bedroom window!
Entrance to mosque on Xi'an
Inner courtyard of the mosque:
Beautiful carved wall decoration:
Pretty full moon door:
We also found an old courtyard home that was open to tour, it was very interesting to wander around the maze of small pathways and poke our heads into the various rooms.
Pretty entrance to the old courtyard home:
Full moon door:
Nice old doorway:
Here we are!
Old well area:
2 story inner courtyard. Traditionally, all young and unmarried women slept in the 2nd story rooms.
Beautiful old kang bed
Carved wooden door
We were hungry for lunch and didn't want street food so we walked over to a main street and found a modern mall with a "food court" of sorts. We looked at our options, rulled out KFC and Subway, and chose a "Mongolian BBQ" type place. There was a long buffet type line of ingredients, and we chose what we wanted and piled it into a big stainless steel bowl, which they then gave to the cook to stir fry. It was just "OK", but at least it only cost us about $4!
David loading up his bowl:
After lunch we continued on with our wandering, turining down an interesting looking alleyway. It turned into a huge maze of tiny alleys filled with vendors selling mostly tourist "crap", but I did bargain pretty hard for a couple of little items.
Muslim Street shopping area, Xi'an
Eventually (whew!) we came out the other end and found ourselves back on a main road. We decided we'd stroll back in the direction of our hotel just a few blocks away. Along the way I saw a pair of shoes I liked--and bought them! Just what I need, another pair of shoes!
Back at our hotel we ordered our early morning taxi to the airport, relaxed a bit, and packed our bags so we are ready for our flight.
We'd enjoyed last night's dinner so much we went back again. We didn't have such good luck tonight, we were very disappointed in our dishes. Even the glazed roast pork that we raved about last night was just not very good tonight. I'm pretty sure we won't starve, though!
We've enjoyed our time in Xi'an and the highlight was most definately our day trip out to see the Terra Cotta Warriors! We are ready to move on to our next stop.
Tomorrow: Another early morning trip to the airport! We are flying into Taiyuan where a driver will meet us and drive us to the ancient walled town of Pingyao.