December 29, 2017


Taiji master and students
Our October 8-12 visit to Xi'an included a bullet train ride (300 kph/190 mph) from Beijing, a Taiji demonstration, a jade factory, the Small Wild Goose Pavilion, where we received calligraphy instruction, Xi'an's impressive town wall, the Great Mosque, the world-famous Terracotta Soldiers, a school visit, a rural village market, and lunch with village residents.

Pillows. Our hotel in Beijing included the usual two pillows, but one of them was strange -- heavy and lumpy, as if it were filled with gravel. Turns out it was filled with buckwheat husks. The first night I tossed it on the floor. But the second night I gave it a try (the other, synthetic pillow, was too fat for my comfort. I liked it. It was firm but malleable and helped me to a good night's sleep. The hotel in Xi'an did not provide a buckwheat pillow and I found I missed it. So, I bought one when I returned home and have been using it ever since.

Terracotta Soldiers. As someone remarked later in the Chengdu airport, visiting the Terracotta soldiers is one of the China tourist cliches. I saw the traveling exhibit in Seattle a couple of decades ago, but there's nothing like the real thing. I was impressed by the scale of the ancient project and the pride and care that's gone into the modern project. It's both a major visitor center and an active archeological dig.

City wall
City Wall. Xi'an is one of the few cities in China that includes a largely-intact ancient city wall, built originally in the 14th century. The top is a walkway as wide as a two-lane street that stretches for over eight miles. Sadly, we only had a few minutes to travel it.

Home visit. We traveled about an hour out of town to a rural village for a visit and a meal. We were hosted by two families and had a fine time visiting the market, trying out our "Chinese," and helping to make lunch. Both hostesses were friendly and interesting. Their houses were quite nice, spacious, two stories, with tall ceilings and nice finishing.

Flickr has an album of photos.

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