Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A Morning Stroll Through Xi’An

After our long first day in Xi’An, we decided to fly solo the second day.   Since we had to catch a late afternoon flight, we strolled around inside the city wall to see what the downtown Xi’An had to offer.

This was the view of the City Wall from our hotel.  It reminded me of the Great Wall of China.

Fortunately our hotel, the Grand Park Xi’An was located by the City Wall South Gate so a walk to downtown was only 5 minutes away.  At first, downtown looked a lot like any other Starbucks and McDonald’s dotted city.  Then we ran into the Bell Tower and Drum Tower.

Chris poses in front of the Bell Tower of Xi'An.  Some people say it was built to tame dragons who caused earthquakes.  Others believe it was built to suppress a dragon from fighting the "real emperor".  

The drums in this tower were beaten to signal the end of the day.

Long lines and a time shortage prevented us from climbing the towers, so we continued to roam the city. 

A few minutes later, we stumbled upon the Great Mosque and Muslim Quarter.  We had never visited a Mosque, so Chris and I paid the 25 RMB to see where many Chinese Muslims worship. 

The well manicured mosque grounds were extremely tranquil.  Unlike most Mosques, the buildings reflected Chinese architecture.

Faces on Muslim art are banned out of fear of polytheism.  

While we were able to walk around the grounds surrounding the prayer hall, we were denied admittance.  This may be because I was not wearing the proper attire.  (I was wearing a short sleeved shirt and jeans.  All of the other women who were admitted were wearing Hijabs and long sleeves.)

A clock on the outside of the prayer hall indicates the times for call to prayer. 

While I was not allowed to enter the prayer hall, I was allowed to take pictures.  Notice there is no seating.  This is so more people may fit in the hall during call to prayer. 

Muslim women take off their shoes as they enter the prayer hall.

After our quick Mosque visit, we wandered the streets of the Muslim market where we were greeted by knickknacks of all sizes and street food!

The Muslim quarter reminded me of the markets in Tianzifang.

I love Chinese shoes.  I wish they made them in my size.

Many street food vendors sold a variety of meats on sticks.


But Mom...I WANT one of those!

Many vendors sold dried fruits and nuts.

These bags were too cute!

One day I will eat the twirly taters on a stick.

We were afraid to eat the chicken due to the H7N9 outbreak.  

I would not be surprised if we return to Xi'An before our time in China is through.
I wish I would have scheduled more time for Xi’An; I could have spent days exploring the city.  Alas, it was time to return to Shanghai for more adventures.