Xi’an, China: The Terra Cotta Army

Angela and I decided that for our Spring break, we should see some of China. We have seen embarrassingly little of the country that we are currently residents of, so we settled on a trip to the ancient capital city of Xi’an. I had a gig with my jazz band on Friday night, so we stayed up until around 1:00 AM the night before our 7:50 AM flight. It was a little bit of a bummer, but we made it to Xi’an, and to our very accommodating hostel called the Han Tang House. We had arranged a driver to pick us up from the hostel, but they never showed up. We managed to communicate with a cab driver and found our way. Once we arrived to our hostel, we took a nap! The room was pretty basic, but the bed was very comfortable.

After our nap, Angela and I headed to the Muslim Quarter of Xi’an. There is a large Muslim population, and a large area with many shops and food stalls, along with the Great Mosque of Xi’an.

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Concerts and Christmastime

Christmastime is in full swing in Shanghai. One of the many great things about living in a city with such a diverse expatriate population is the Christmas market scene. I have never been to an authentic Christmas market, but I am guessing that Shanghai does a pretty bang-up job. As Angela mentioned in a previous post, we had purchased our first adult Christmas tree a few weeks ago, and desperately needed some decorations for it. We decided to explore a few of the local German and French Christmas markets in Shanghai. The best one we went to with a good group of friends, right down the street from our house. There are all kinds of Christmasy things to buy, and lots of mulled wine to drink (my favorite part). We had a great time, and picked up some nice hand painted ornaments for our little tree. On the way home from one of these markets, Angela and I also completed a major Shanghai goal: we got a golden taxi. I don’t know the story with the golden taxis, so I won’t pretend to make up any explanations, but what I do know is that Shanghai has made a limited number of British looking golden taxis under the name of the ‘London Taxi Company’. There are probably thousands of these taxis in the city, but we have only seen about eight, so I am imagining that there are only 100 in the entire city, and that merely spotting one is a miracle. Well, we did even better. We rode in one! On the way home from a little Christmas shopping, we spotted one sitting a few blocks away. Letting several perfectly good cabs drive by, we sprinted to this one and got it. Here is a shot of Angela emerging from the glorious golden taxi as proof.

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October Holiday

So far we have had a fairly active October break. At the very start of break, we spent the weekend in Nanjing, China which you can read about in the previous post. Nanjing used to be the capital of China, so there is quite a bit of history in that city. On Monday after we returned from Nanjing, we met up with a young couple who signed up to couch surf with us. There is a website that you can register with called couch surfing, and connect with people and places to stay for free all around the world. We had a married couple sign up to stay with us named Brett and Angie, and they are from Australia. They had previously come from the United States before then. Brett was an engineer and Angie an educator, but they both quit their jobs to travel the world. They are approaching one year of traveling. What a cool adventure! We met them and brought them to our apartment, and then we all went off in separate directions.

Angela and I decided to visit Jing’an Temple. This temple is not too far from where we live.

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