(So…I am WAAY behind on my updates…This one is about Xi’an and the next one will be a combo about Beijing and Shanghai).
We are in Xi’an, one of the former capitals of China.We got here on the 4th and we will be leaving this Thursday. While we’ve been here, we have had history classes every morning for a couple of hours.
Our daily structure has been go to class, have a quiz on the reading from the night before, we listen to two or three people give their presentations on the book they had chose earlier in the semester, we have a lecture, and then we are done at lunch time which gives us the rest of the day for whatever. I just finished my presentation. I am so glad that it is over and done with! My book was on the Opium Wars. I think that it went well. Everyone seemed to like it.
For food, most of us eat at the cafeteria on campus, but sometimes we will go and eat at the hole in the wall noodle shops. A popular hang-out for our group is the Village Cafe. It has some western food, some of the best milkshakes and hot chocolate ever, super friendly employees, annndd INTERNET. 😛
During our free time, all of us have to get our readings done, of course. If we didn’t read…we’d bomb the quizzes, which, I am not doing the best one. Some of them I have done fine on though. But two places a lot of us go to are downtown. The Art District and the Muslim Quarter. The art district has a lot of cool stuff. I got my ocarina there. It has a phoenix carved on it. I got my first experience bargaining, and the guy selling them gave me a lesson in playing it. In the Muslim Quarter, there is a lady, Helen, who does Bible verses in Chinese calligraphy as well as names in Chinese. She is super sweet, and does amazing work. She told me where I could go and get my chop (name stamp) in the Muslim Quarter and what a good price would be. I also got myself a Chinese English Bible while I was in Xi’an.
One afternoon, a bunch of us went up onto the city wall and we biked the 8 miles on it. It was a beautiful day when we did that. Another afternoon, we went downtown near the Big Goose Pagoda. We didn’t go inside (expensive), but we hung out in the parks nearby and then watched the light show in this huge fountain about a block or two away from the pagoda, which was really cool.
From here, we head to Beijing via train. Whoot!