Our 2010 China Tour
Page 5

On day 9 we toured the city of Xian by bus. Joan and Diana (our Xian city guide) would point ot places of interest along with a cultural and historic narrative.
We always had comfortable, clean busses wherever we went.

Xian is a walled city. It's the most complete city wall that has survived in China, as well being one of the largest ancient military defensive systems in the world. It was built in the 14th century. The wall stands 40 feet tall, 40-46 feet wide at the top and 50-60 feet thick at the bottom. It covers 8.5 miles in length with a deep moat surrounding it. Every 400 feet there is a rampart which extends out from the main wall.

All together, there are 98 ramparts on the wall, which were built to defend against the enemy climbing up the wall. Each rampart has a sentry building, in which the soldiers could protect the entire wall without exposing themselves to the enemy. Besides, the distance between every two ramparts is just within the range of an arrow shot from either side, so that they could shoot any enemy who wanted to attack the city.

The top pictures are of a barracks building on the wall and the width of the wall (note the number of cranes in the background.). The bottom pictures show a bit of the inner city and the outer moat and a rampart.

After the tour of the Xian Wall, we all went to a Muslim restaurant for lunch. The special item was a soup made with a torn up bagel sort of roll. We did the tearing and they put in the broth. It made a thick flavorful soup.

Our guide -Joan- is married to a Chinese muslim. She's a Han Chinese. he's a Hui (Muslim) Chinese.

After all that soup, you gotta go. Fortunately, the urinal had instruction in English for it's use posted above it. Whew!

After Lunch we rode out to a farm village named Donghan. We would spend the night in Dongchan with a Chinese family. Before going to the village, we stopped a their local elementary school and visited a 5th grade class.

The kids were like any 5th graders: Full of energy and enthusiasm. They sang us a song in Chinese and our group sang "Old MacDonald's Farm to them (in English). We then sat for a while with an "adopted" student looking at her school work.

All went well until I folded and threw a paper airplane. The class broke down and soon everyone was throwing airplanes and laughing. Some fun!!

Dongchan is a special farm village. about 20 years ago, the state government subsidized the construction of a new village. About 70 of the 90 families moved into the new village and abandoned their old village.

These pictures show the remains of an abandoned mud brick farm house and the new masonry duplex houses. Our hostess -Madam Jang- lives in the new unit on the right.

The villagers are still farming the fields around their new village (mostly corn, soybeans, squash, and potatoes).

We helped Madam Jang and her niece prepare and cook dinner. There was another OAT couple with us. Madam Jang a did all the real work and her niece pan fried some sort of dense buns. She couldn't speak english and, of course, we couldn't speak much chinese. Consequently, the whole process of food preparation and cooking was awkward.

Madam Jang did not sit and/or eat with us. The dining was also awkward. Her home and our bedroom was clean and tidy. The pillows, however, were filled with something like corn or gravel. Very hard!!

After dinner at Madam Janies we went to the village center. There was line dancing going on. Mary Ann jumped right in with the rest of the women and knew all the steps. All the men (including me) just sat there like a bunch of dummies. As usual, the kids ran around and made pests of themselves.

On the morning of our 10th day we had breakfast (tea and a biscuit) with Madam Jang and walked to the village square to catch our bus back to Xian and a flight to Cheng Du. A lot of folks came out to see us off. I thought this young mother and her baby were very attractive.

Our last picture of Dongchan was of their house number signs. We don't have anything this artistic in The Villages.

We then were bussed back to Xian to catch a plane to Cheng Du.

In Cheng Du we met Melissa, our city guide. She gave us some local history and took us to see the Pandas. The Chengdu Panda Center is, quite literally, the world's largest giant and red panda reserve. The centers main purpose is to educate visitors as well as breed, raise, and protect the endangered and huggable giant panda. If any place deserves the distinction as a national treasure, the breeding center would be it. In fact, the entry ticket goes on to say that it is the "Charm of China, Cradle of Pandas." After a half day hike around the park, it is easy to see why.

There is a grand total of 38 Giant Pandas and 10 Red Pandas, as you'll see below:

Here are pictures of the Giant Pandas. The one in the trees ia an adult. The other two are juveniles. Did you know that pandas have a "non-finger" appendage on their front paws that allow them to grasp bamboo? I didn't.

The Red Pandas look like a cross between a red fox and a racoon. They're pretty neat, too.

I enjoy taking photos of people, especially kids. The family on the left could be just like any family in Disney World. Even to the little girls "Minnie Mouse" outfit.

The folks on the right have a young child with "Happy Pants". There is no seat in "Happy Pants" so when the kids need to go, they just hold them close to the grass, gutter, whatever, and they go. No diapers needed and they say the child will toilet train earlier.

Clever people these Chinese!


We returned to down town Cheng Du for lunch and free time to walk around. This is a pedestrian shopping street. As you can see, it's crammed with people. Mary Ann is in the lower center of the pic wearing a pink top. She and I did some walking and shopping (a Coke) here.

Dinner was at the "Romantic Western Buffet". I took a look at the food and decided to buy a pomelo from a street vendor and go back to the hotel. My bronchitis was acting up.

This ended our 11th day on the tour. Tomorrow we fly to Lhasa in Tibet!!

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