Saturday, December 27, 2008
China Trip Day 5: Xian and the Towers
For the first time since our trip starting, we had the time to sleep in and so we did. Once we were up and ready to go, we headed out to see this museum of stone tablets. In order to get there we had to walk down this really cute street of vendors selling the same old, same old stuff. At the gate of the museum, this old lady kept hounding me to buy a map that was all in Chinese!

After that we were planing to go up the city wall and walk around but we were cold and hungry so we went to a famous dumpling place that was listed in the lonely planet for some brunch. One our way to the dumpline place, we passed a bunch of people flying these really, really, long kites. It was amazing seeing how far they could fly. Just like the other famous food places we went to, the staff weren't overly helpful at all. We managed to order 3 different types of dumplings and tried to order some tea, but hey were apparently all out of tea. The only thing they had to drink was soy milk, which I'm not too fond of so I opted for a water bottle. The dumpling were good, but not amazing or anything, and the bill for them was one of the most expensive we've gotten while in China. Still cheap with compared to Japan, but, yeah.

After brunch, we went to check out the bell an drum tower. We went to the drum tower first and walked around. From the tower, we got a birds eye view of the Muslim Quarter. Then we headed over to the bell tower. Along the way, I needed to use the restroom, so we stopped at one that was int he underground tunnel between the bell and drum towers. It was an interesting experience. There really wasn't a line so much as a group of people standing around, and there was a mad rush to get to any stall that opened. So people would just stand in from of one stall and line up in front of it. Very strange. And the toilets were all squat toilets. Luckily I have more that enough experience with these kind of toilets from living in Japan. They were only a little bit different. While in the bell tower, we caught a small performance.

After that we headed to the Muslim Quarter to find the Grand Mosque that's there. It took some time to find as its hidden within this type of covered bazaar area full of tourist type shops that we missed both times when visiting in the past few days. The mosque itself was sort of architecturally similar to the museum we were at earlier in the day.

After that, we headed back to the hostel, pick up some stall food along the way including spicy lamb on a stick, sugar cane juice, and some Muslim type dumplings.

At the hostel, we considered visiting the Big Goose Pagoda but decided it was to cold and opted to get tickets from the hostel for a Chinese dancing show. The show was really nice. I really liked the way almost all of the dances were fluid and I liked the long sleeves and waving of many of the dancers. After that we headed to the hostel and chilled.

Before calling it a night, we needed some dinner and went back to the Muslim Quarter. There we found a restaurant serving that pita/lamb dish that we had the night before. This place you just order and they bring you a bowl with the bread pre cut to an appropriate size. It tasted better and was much cheaper that the 'famous' place. We also ordered a side dish of what tasted surprisingly like stuffing. After stuffing ourselves we headed back to the hostel for some shut eye.

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