Saturday, January 16, 2010

National Day, Mid-Autumn Festival, and Xi'an (Oh My!)

I am super sorry I haven't been updating this thing! I've been home for a month and I still haven't blogged about October. My bad.

China celebrates National Day on October 1st. It's like our Independence Day, only we celebrate freedom and democracy and they celebrate communism. China also goes by a lunar calendar, so this October was extra special because 1) Mid-Autumn Festival fell 2 days after National Day, and 2) this was the 60th year of Communism and 60 is a lucky number in China. So naturally, traveling was hell. There is only one parade in China to celebrate National Day and it takes place in Beijing. Everyone gets a week vacation for National Day and Mid-Autumn festival, so a lot of people go to Beijing. Or they just travel to their home provinces. Anyway, that is a ton of people to all be traveling. So on National Day, we just hung out in Kaiyin and went to the park for a picnic dinner of fruit. The next day, we caught a bus to Shenzhen, where we caught the train to Xi'an. Xi'an is located roughly in Central China. The train ride to Xi'an lasted 25 hours. The train also had a squatter. It was disgusting. That's all I'm going to say on that. So we arrived in relatively good spirits to Xi'an. We stayed at a youth hostel (that I picked out) located next to the ancient city wall. That night, us girls went by the wall and ate moon cakes to celebrate Mid-Autumn Festival. I don't know how many of you have had moon cakes, but they are super rich. 2 bites about does me in. The next day, the girls wanted to go to church and then to an orphanage, so I went along with them and kinda hung out. After church, we went to a western cafe that actually had some decent western food. Our next stop was the orphanage, which was one of the most heart-breaking places I've ever been to. A lot of the babies there had cleft lips or palates and I think that's why they were left at the orphanage. We stayed there for about 3 hours holding the babies and playing with them. The next day was the best day . . . we went on a 2 hour bus ride to see the Terracotta Warriors! There were 3 different buildings that covered the digging sights and a museum and another building. We went through each of the buildings to see the Warriors. It was really interesting and slightly creepy. The Warriors looked like real people that were lying dead on the ground after some ancient battle. It was really cool, though. When we finished, we sat outside the first building for a half hour. Some Chinese people kept dragging their children over to us to get pictures taken with us. We told Tina about it later and she said that Chinese people consider it a good vacation if they have pictures of/with Americans (or other foreigners). The train ride back was worse than the ride to. We were on the bloody train for 27 and 1/2 hours! And the night was way worse with a lot of sketchy people. But all-in-all, it was a good vacation.


  1. this is a very interesting post, ammanda. it looks like it was dated January 16. how did i miss that? it should have gone on top of my blog roll that day. weird. oh, well--now i'm glad i checked.anyway, i enjoyed reading this. beijing sounds so fascinating. i have an idea what the train ride must have been like :-) i smiled when i read about the people wanting to take pictures with you. back home we didn't see too many tall, white people with colored hair and colored eyes. everyone has black hair and brown eyes,so when we saw caucasian foreigners we were so fascinated and enthralled,like when you see exotic animals at the zoo for lack of better comparison :-) It must be the same for the Chinese. I hope you post more about your China experience. It really is very interesting.

  2. Mom said....
    I loved your story, I love all this history you were able to see. I wonder how I would have taken the smelling things. Not so good...Love mom