Friday, May 02, 2008

Day 9 – Xian City

Goose pagoda
We got a taxi to the Goose Pagoda, where a sort of
Disneyfied Buddhist Temple exists, telling the story of the introduction of Buddhism to China in a great wood and stone mural. Callum and I climbed to the top. Pagodas have odd numbers of floors and were designed to hold Buddhist relics and sutras, This one is a rare stone building, to protect the sutras from fire. We had trouble getting a taxi, but managed and headed into the city through the great wall.

Xian’s Great Mosque
Up a narrow alley along a stall lined street, turn left and we’re facing Xian’s Great Mosque. There’s around 60.000 Muslims in this part of the city and the mosque has been here since 742 AND. It’s really a Chinese temple, but facing west to Mecca, added to over the centuries, with the final pavilion turned into a prayer hall. Halfway there’s a traditional Chinese two storied pavilion that acts as a minaret. It has a rather run down feel but it was quiet and clam, as a Mosque should be and had sparrows in the grounds. Threatened with destruction during the Cultural Revolution, it survived, and today at prayer times one can see Chinese Muslims, with white caps, some with beards, flock to prayer.

The Muslims are famous here for their beef oodles, so we decamped to a nearby noodle restaurant and scoffed beef noodles and kebabs – very spicy. We took some time to buy a couple tee-shirts and silk scarves. In an astonishing piece of fakery we bought a deck of cards showing wanted Iraqis, issues by the US. The Mickey Mao watches, with Mao waving his hand, don’t even keep the time, so only buy for display! Then it was off to the airport to fly to Guilin.

Flight to Guilin

Guilin is hotter and has more humidity, hence the spicier food. Indeed they eat almost anything, especially snakes, stir-fried, in soup or the blood and gall in drinks. Our local guide, Autumn gave us a great introduction to the area and on arrival, we had a beer and dinner.


At 10:53 AM, Anonymous Rina said...

Yuck! snakes, blood? Lizards and cockroaches too? Seems you have got the hang of Bollywood, rarely movies are sensible a recent one on dyslexia is good, it's 'Tarre zameen par'check it here:
You will like it. This reads like a very interesting book. Really, relaxing read. Thanks for sharing this.


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