April 17, 2010
GSI China Trip – Day 7
Nihao (hello) Xian, Zaijian (goodbye) Beijing
By Maria Vandervert
Leaving Beijing early this morning (4:30 wakeup call) was bittersweet. I’m excited to experience new adventures, but will miss Beijing and Julia, our tour guide who now has a place in my heart. Julia said, “There are six billion people in the world. It was fate that we meet.” Thank you for having us Beijing. Xiexie.
As we stepped onto our domestic flight to Xian, a Chinese version of John Lennon’s song ‘Imagine’ was playing over the loud speaker, followed by ‘I want to know what love is.’ The flight is only one hour and forty minutes. In the meantime, we watch a little piggy cartoon about Swine Flu accompanied by music singing, “Swine flu comes from America, what a shame…” la la la.
We met our new tour guide Lily in Xian and we were off to see the Wild Goose Pagoda. During the Tang Dynasty in 629, the monk XuanZang traveled from Xian to India to obtain Buddhist Scriptures. When he returned, he built the Big Wild Goose Pagoda.
More facts about Xian:
The city has a population of 8.3 million
It’s about 75 degrees today and very humid
No rice grows here – main crop is winter wheat
Xian is home to the dumpling and the noodle. We had a wonderful dumpling dinner tonight.
Xian is home to 56 nationalities
American’s are referred to as “big nose persons”
The City is divided into two sections by a complete wall. 2 million live inside the wall, and is considered the old part of town. Everyone else lives outside the wall. 20 years from now, everyone will live outside the wall while the government makes the inside more of a tourist attraction. The City Wall is 36 ft. high and was built during the Ming Dynasty in 1372.
Major industries include coal power stations, printing, chemical factories, textile factories, Peaches – peach juice factory.
Once you turn 18 you can get your driver’s license
Also found out that the earthquake took place in Qinghai, which is 5,000 miles away from us. 10,000 are injured. Many soldiers and Lama monks are helping to get people out of the rubble. 90% of the houses are made of clay and wood.