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Xi'an [Xi-An,West-Peaceful More Detail] (11th Sept)
    

  Xi'an is one of the oldest, if not THE oldest, cites in China. Starting 2,000+ years ago, it was capital of 13 dynasties. 72 out of 209 emperors were buried here. (Hey, Kam's knowledge of Chinese history is not good enough to give you all these numbers. Just repeating what the tour guide says ) Talking about being the capital city, BeiJing is only Xi'an's little brother.

Besides political importance, Xi'an was the starting point of the Silk Road. Today, Xi'an is the hub of the western China area. With China's 21st century strategy to develop the west, Xi'an will extend her glorious days for at least another 20 years.

 
 
The Bell Tower that marks the center of the city
  I knew Xi'an is a great city, but I didn't know how great. When the airport bus drives me near the city center, I find that Xi'an is surrounded by city walls, tall and thick. These walls were first built in the Tang dynasty (618-907AD). 50-60 ft. wide, 40-46 ft. tall and runs 9 miles around the city.

It's more serious than what I see in movies and I am impressed.


Kam's legs are shaking at the top of the wall. But you wouldn't notice.

The south gate of the city. It's the kind of place for a grand entrance.
 
Inside the arch.
 
Outside of the wall.

Taxi, taxi. Up here!!!

Come home through the door and your wife is not there to kiss you?

The ancient and the new.

Bye, city wall.

The quiet side of the wall.

More than just a shelter. This roof a piece of art.
  On the airport bus, I meet Man and Wu from Macau and Carla from the US. Got company for the coming 2 days.     The lady on the airport bus drops us off at a so-called 2 star hotel. Check in and get a room with a nice view of the back of a big signboard and a few empty mineral water bottles. Is this supposed to be a city where kings and emperors live!!!???
  Ok, let's see some actions in Xi'an.

Yes, I got a near-monk haircut to celebrate this vacation. Heeellooo Xi'an.
The further I go up north, the more I find the description "Chinese" inadequate in describing who I am. Although the Han tribe (which Kam belongs to) makes up over 90% of Chinese, the ethnic makeup of China is far more complicated than that. This fellow who is making mouth-watering BBQ lamb and fish is a member of the Hui (Muslim) minority. Give me some of those. I don't mind you don't carry pork. (yummy rating. Out of 5 s)

We are partners. You fry and I eat.

Although Xi'an is an ancient city, it doesn't look ancient at all in front of big malls like this one.
   
Fry chestnut using black sand. Yum yum yum. Oh, we got the same hair cut too.
   

A look at the very center of the city from the top of the south gate.

Regular residential area of Xi'an.
 
More regular residential area.
 
A coal station. The slogan says "Develop economy. Guarantee supply."  
 
  Xi'an started rebuilding itself early and thus there isn't much old, I mean really old, houses left. Let's peek into other people's houses:  
Houses
 
Street

Houses

House
(what some creative captions)
 
   Dinner time!

Cold dish beef and cow stomach. The beef is probably THE best cold dish beef I've ever had.  

Ok, it's the same beef. I love it too much I want to pose it for a poster.

Ok, this is one of the most famous food in Xi'an. It's called PaoMo [
Soak_Bread More Detail]. Carla is demonstrating how to break the Mo by hand.

Then lamb soup and is added to the Mo. This is a PIC I take in another occasion. They have lamb backbone, meat, and fat in the soup.

Sesame source cow stomach. Delicious. But when Carla finds out about it, her eating speed slows down significantly.
 
Honestly, Kam likes the beer more. So oil topped PaoMo gets a mere judging from Kam's southern taste.
It looks good but there is a killer touch to it - there is about a quarter of an inch of oil floating on top of the bowl. Local people say they need that oil to keep them from getting hungry and keep them warm in winter time.
    

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