Friday, June 25, 2010

Xi’an, Part I

Sorry I’ve been gone for a few days, but I couldn’t skip the opportunity to travel with my uncle to Xi’an, a city surrounded by culture and history. This weeklong trip was part of my uncle’s annual conference for work. He is the editor of a publication for Hunan Central South University. After a daylong conference on Sunday, the fifty conference attendees arranged two tour buses and two tour guides to take us to local sites.

On the 1st day of the trip, we visited Hukou Waterfall, which is part of China’s Yellow River.

The tour guide kept warning us that the area was extremely dangerous. Each year people accidentally slip off the rocks and get pulled into the river.

Here is another portion of the magnificent falls.

We couldn’t resist the opportunity to take photos while wearing the traditional garb of the people in the area and riding a donkey.

It was really gorgeous; however, we had to ride the tour bus for about seven hours to get there. Actually, a good portion of our trip was spent in riding the bus. This was due to the distances between the attractions, rocky mountain roads, and the unpredictable traffic.

That night we arrived at Yan’an, home of the Chinese Communist Revolution. This city was the destination of Mao’s Long March. During the Chinese Civil War, Mao Zedong and his Red Army were pursued by the Guomingdang, otherwise known as the Nationalists. Mao made Yan’an his base during the war.

We visited the locations where Mao and the other famous leaders, such as Zhou Enlai and Liu Shaoqi, lived during the war. Their residences were carved out of mountainsides and were fairly simple, only containing the bare necessities.

The food here is in the northern-style, which means less spice in all the dishes and more wheat products as opposed to rice. Therefore, at all our meals we enjoyed steamed bread (mantou) and noodles. As usual, there were lots of fresh vegetables.

All of the meals were eaten family –style, so everyone got to try a variety of dishes.

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