Friday, 9 June 2017

Chiiiina Part Three

  Our last morning in Shanghai, and I try the fried pork dumplings for breakfast, along with a tea egg, some steamed purple yam, and a delicious sesame hemp ball.  

Tea eggs
From breakfast, we travel via bus to Shanghai airport, being screened immediately upon entrance, including a drug swab. After check-in, we take quite the ride via bus across the tarmac to the 'plane - my first ever traffic jam on the tarmac!!
A great sculpture at the airport
Gah! The pernicious garbage!!! At Shanghai airport.
Muuuuch walking when we arrive in Xi'an,  and meet our new local guide, Jason. He is a very amusing boy, and I finally manage to place the voice cadence - Alles Klar - Herr Lipp  from The League of Gentleman!!! (I don't mean that he's creepy like Herr Lipp, just the broken English and tones...)
He also tells us the same story Summer did about our bus driver being the second best driver in town, as the first is in hospital, yet still it is funny! Straight from the airport we visit the Little Wild Goose Pagoda, where I garner a great deal of attention and star in many photos, also learning the Chinese for 'You're welcome'. The rose gardens are beautiful, and running through them I spot a kitty, who does not respond to any attempt at communication I make. (Later Matt asks Summer how to talk to a cat in Chinese, and it is 'mi mi mi mi mi mi !!' 
 I also try to talk to the Mynah bird, which gives a wonderful 'Ni Hao', but my 'hello' just gets a squawk in return! More rejection occurs when Jason writes my name in Chinese characters - other folk get tales of strength, and valour in relation to the translation - I get 'good name'!!
 We check into the hotel, and, desperate for a real drink, decide to treat ourselves to the mini-bar - which has one piss-weak Chinese beer in it! Aaaaagh, the one time we were going to do it!! Instead, we shower and head to the hotel bar, we we drink a version of Carlsberg beer, barely 4%, and Matt narrowly escapes paying $75 for a shingle shot of whiskey!  After dinner, we decide not to participate in the city-by-night-tour, and walk home, to great consternation. It was fantastic to be on our own time, free to stop whenever we want!
Sculpture of a computer mouse, with people running all over it like ants

6:30 upz to a 30-35 degree day - time for the Kaftan, although with leggings and boots!
Breakfast had a vast array of intriguing goodies, from 'The Secret of the Kidney Bean', to Sheep Giblet Soup, and Spiced Pig's Heart. I feasted on a pork bun (sweet!), a spinach dumpling, Halal Beef Cake (deep fried pastry!), cold duck breast, a boiled egg, and the pig's heart. Delicious!! Can I just clarify that I did not eat all this carbo-delicious feast - it was more of a tasting platter....
Next we are on to the bus to see the Terracotta Warriors. Well actually, first we visit the factory where they produce lovely replicas of the warriors, and beautiful lacquer furniture. It was really interesting watching the artists work, placing the rods of sticky, red, clay into moulds, then almost immediately unmoulding. In a few months, our garden will be displaying a full size replica of the Emperor, looking very much like someone who lives here....
Emperor Matt
Wicked Empress Svenja
Terracotta Warrior production
Reference pictures being taken for production!!
Whilst this was going on, I wandered around the clothing section, and became interested in a scarf/wrap which fastened with several knotted frogs, until I saw the label - 100% Silk. Feeling.
Lacquer furniture
A short drive down the road and we arrived at the site of the four pits of the warriors. It was an extremely hot day, so Summer thought we should catch the golf cart to the first one. It was vast and impressive, although we had always thought the warriors had been found whole, yet we learned they were found in pieces in the 70's and have gradually been put back together since. After the second pit, holding the 'office' of the warriors, we waited to regroup outside, where Bonnie and I -became quite the attraction for photographs. We had lunch at the restaurant on-site, trying the Pomegranate Wine, which smelt deliciously fragrant but just tasted like metho. It was served in the tiniest of glasses, and  many were watching as if they expected us to reel..... errrr...... you know we're from Australia, right?! After many days of drinking the local 2-3% beer, we were more than ready for it!!

An Egon Schiele-esque Teacotta Warrior.. the only one......
Bronze carriages
After visiting the remaining two pits, we drove to the Xi'an City Wall, one of the most complete in China. It was vast and impressive, but it must have been 40 degrees up there, so we declined the offer to walk along it, and took the opportunity to have a Corona!! Ahhhh!!!
Summer at the Xi'an City Wall

A groovy little alleyway near the hotel which we traversed.

 Next stop was the Muslim Quarter, which was a bit of a change in the schedule, and I was not prepared with my long sleeves, although these proved unnecessary. Surprisingly, this was one of the highlights of the tip, as the street provided the colours and atmosphere I had been looking for. Squidsicles, lamb carcasses, toffee being pulled, nuts being crushed in huge pestle and mortars, walnuts being roasted, and decorative dress - it was a feast for the eyes, although we were warned not to feast our stomachs, or our wallets....... "Meat, was once meat' and 'antiques - made last night". I was also very aware of being an attraction myself! When we all regathered at the end of the street, I recognised the colours of a 7-11, and went in to find some Dutch Wheat Beer (5% - hurrah!!!) and some 'firewater'!!
Muslim Quarter Toffee

He and thee in the lobby
 We were very lucky to get a half hour to refresh before dinner, and whilst doing so poured some 'firewater' over the wee sponge fingers we had been given in our lunch pack - awesome idea!! For once, we are the last to arrive after our refreshing, and we drive to our dumpling banquet, which is most enjoyable!
Dumpling Banquet - froggies!!
Hedgehog Dumplings full of red bean paste - delicious!!
After this, we are shown to tables at the front of the theatre for our Tang Dynasty Dance performance, which is amousing! Musicians are either side of the stage (percussion on our side!), as are the beautifully dressed singers behind me.
Too shy to photograph the singers, I ask Matt to....
It was an absolute spectacle of a show, with some very 'WoW' elements. Costumes, settings, dancing, music, and digital backgrounds - all wonderful, but totally ready for bed by the end of a very long day!


  1. I wonder if we sat at the same table for the show? I loved the food. The shaped dumplings were so cute.