Hey look, it’s a Chinese McFlurry. I thought it was novel, so I got one. It was the first McFlurry I’d ever had. Why would I possibly want a McFlurry in the United States when we have so much really great ice cream available everywhere? The Chinese, however, really don’t get into sweets and the McFlurry was one of the sweetest things I could find in China.
It’s the taxi line at the Xian train station. It moved better than it I would have assumed it would. I think it only jams up when more than one train arrived within a certain number of minutes. I have seen it when there was no line at all. Most of the hostels will offer free pick-up from the train station if you tell them the train on which you will be arriving and that you wish to be picked up at the strain station.
It was the second hostel in which I stayed in Xian. Due to my head cold, I made an effort to get a $20 private room for 3 days. I did that so that I could sleep well. The room was well worth the money. Quite comfortable, with a couple of minor irritations. First, the mattress was on the floor. I haven’t slept on a mattress on the floor since the 1960′s. Second, the shower vacillated between very hot and very cold without any interference from me. Catching it at the right temperature became something of a personal challenge for me, one in which I ultimately failed. In the end, I started using the communal shower down the walkway.
It’s the Skywalk on the 100th floor of the World Financial Center. After viewing it I wanted my money back, all $25 of it. This wasn’t a view, it was a statement about the pollution of Shanghai. I felt like what I wanted was a view. The kind o view I got when I look out from Eagles Nest, NM and am able to see Sandia Peak, NM, a iew that’s about 120 miles. This view has a visibility of about one mile. I understand people can’t control the weather, but I think this was more than weather. My whole time in China, I think I got to see the sun maybe 10% of the time.
The store on the left looks like a 7-11, but I don’t think it is. If someone reading this speaks fluent Chinese and can testify that it is or it isn’t, I’d listen. Truth is, it looks like a knock-off, that which the Chinese do so very well. The store on the right was a Subway. I had one of their $2 specials for lunch. I took it up on the city wall of Xian with me to give me a little energy for the bike ride around the wall. By the way, there was a Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream store down the block.
It’s the Drum Tower in Xian. Or is it the Bell Tower? I get the two confused, especially since they aren’t used as a bell tower or a drum tower anymore. The real point of the picture is to show that it looks pretty good at night, whatever it is. It sits in the middle of the traffic circle where the two biggest streets in Xian intersect so it cannot be missed.
It’s a picture of my first experience at Chinese hot pot. I found it a very interesting concept. There’s a pot at each table. There’s a food bar with raw ingredients. You put heat under the pot, put the raw ingredients in the pot of boiling stock and cook whatever you want to your heart’s content at your table in your pot. The ingredient list at the place where we dined was impressive. They had dozens of items for selection ranging from LIVE eels, crabs and shrimp to cuts of fish, chicken, mutton and beef which weren’t moving, thank goodness. There were also plenty of veggies and other items. Plus, I got really lucky, it was free beer night at the local hot pottery. In addition, you get to watch all the large Chinese groups all try to eat out of one of the pots. Yes, they do have larger tables and larger pots for larger groups. The Chinese have perfected the ability to serve ‘family style’ meals.
What’s this? It’s a traffic jam in the Muslim Quarter of Xian, China. I’m just trying to walk down the street, what street there is, and I come across a jam-up, cram-up of bicycles, pedestrians, cars, scooters and other assorted vehicles. You know it’s a bad jam-up when the pedestrians can’t get through. Someone has to back up and no one’s giving ground. The insults and insinuations are flying about. At least I thing they are. Truth is, I really don’t know what they are saying to each other. All I can go by is the tone, which sounds anything but complimentary.
Yeah, it’s a Wal-Mart. Yeah, it’s in China. Is Wal-Mart a success in China? I don’t know. What I do know is that the average Chinese person under the age of thirty is smitten with western values. How do I know? Because they are such obvious consumers. They live with a cell phone in their hand. The wear clothing with writing on the clothes that is in English, not Chinese. Chinese knock-offs are of western products, not Chinese. I’ve yet to see a Chinese automobile. I’ve seen lots of Buicks. It’s hard to get a seat at a McDonald’s. Then again, it’s hard to get a seat anywhere that I’ve been in China.
That’s the first hostel I stayed at in Xian and the bike I rented there. The bike cost $3 a day to rent. It was a bargain. The city had walls. It was hard to get lost on a bicycle.