Over the past forty years, Xi’an and the terracotta warriors have become synonymous. The warriors, discovered in 1974, are approximately an hour’s drive from the Xi’an airport. Many travelers fly into Xi’an’s new airport, hire a cab service, visit the museum, fly out.
What a shame!
Xi’an is one of my favorite cities. The culture, food, people, shopping…name it and you will find it in Xi’an. I’ve seen the warriors multiple times. They are fascinating. However, this recent trip to Xi’an, I wanted to skip the warriors and focus on Xi’an.
Here is a video to introduce Xi’an’s culture:
My friend, Zhu Xiaojian, and her husband, Yixian, accompanied me to Xi’an. Zhu and I taught English at Fuzhou University in 1996-97. Over the years she has guided me on my China travels. This trip was no exception.
The magnitude of things to do and see in Xi’an range from walking the ancient wall that surrounds the inner city, performances of Beijing Opera, a thriving Muslim market and food venues, music played on the Er Hu (a two stringed instrument), art and calligraphy. The To Do list grew so extensive that the FAB team knew a 4 minute video would not suffice. Instead, we have created a 4 part series which includes Dance, Theater, Art and Music.
Upon arrival in Xi’an, we saw a poster advertising a dance group performing a story about the Sala people who migrated to Gansu Province and lived in harmony with the local people. The performance was to be held at a theater on the military academy campus. We bought our tickets in the afternoon prior to the performance. That evening we arrived an hour early at the entrance to the academy. When the guards saw I was a “foreigner,” they said I was not allowed to go inside the area. We were devastated, not because of the price of the tickets, but because we would be unable to see the performance. Yixian went to find someone who had the authority to over-ride the mandate. We waited. Thirty minutes passed. Forty-five minutes past. Suddenly, there was the arrival of several men, dressed in black with all types of electronic equipment in hands and ears. They had the definite appearance of security police. At this point, all I wanted to do was to return to the hotel. They said nothing to me, but spoke to Zhu telling her I would be allowed to enter the campus.
The theater was enormous and the performance, enchanting. We were only allowed to take photos (no videos) and I wasn’t about to disobey orders.
Tai Chi is popular throughout China. In the mornings at parks or open areas, you will see people (mostly older people) performing the art of Tai Chi. This is such a elegant exercise. I asked Zhu why young people didn’t participate? Apparently, the young enjoy the gym more than the ancient (translate that as old) ways. The young are missing out on something very special.
We had traveled by bus to a park outside of town center. As we walked along the path, I keep hearing a cracking sound. Eventually, we arrived at the location of the sound to see several men wielding bullwhips. Their skill was impressive. I decided I wanted to try. One of the gentlemen offered to help me. The whip is heavy and is moved in a circular motion around your head, then a quick snap of the wrist and that undeniable crack of the whip. I didn’t do well; but, had fun trying to make the whip snap. My tutor exercises using this method every day. It truly takes skill with the arms and balance of the body.
Theater will be our next segment in the series. We hope you enjoy discovering Xi’an.