We have spent the last little while living our ordinary lives, but have also tried to travel on weekends as much as is possible and practical. Luckily there's still so much to see in Xi'an that when we don't feel like travelling outside of the city we can still be tourists right here and sleep in our own beds at night. Although our travels have been limited by earthquake-sensitive areas and other less tragic events: like time and money, we've still tried to have some adventures.
We have been to
Another weekend the boys and I took our own trip to Pingyao, without Yoni. Something I doubt we would have attempted earlier in the year but by this time we all felt we were up to the challenge. The kids were great - Tal worked hard at ordering things in Chinese and I was also forced to work harder at making myself understood . . things we usually leave to Yoni when he's around. Pingyao is a well-preserved walled city that makes you feel as if you’re walking through Qing dynasty
Another trip was to Yan’an with our niece Maayan and her friend Jarod. Yan'an is famous as the headquarters of Mao and his boys in the 30s while the Communists were gathering their strength, their ideology, and their forces. Here's some classic photos from Ya'nan. Virtually every Chinese person who visits seems to pose just like this. Tal is offering a speech from the very podium where Mao spoke - and Mao raises his right arm in a famous picture from that very spot, exactly as Tal is posing. About 10 people took that picture, posing the exact same way, before Tal. And Maayan and I pose, in communist costume (should have removed my sunglasses from around my neck, in front of a youthful Mao . . just like hordes of others before us.
Very few foreigners seem to visit Yan’an, thus we were the focus of a bit more attention than we’re used to. In the city there was this outdoor activity centre so I tried my hand at walking through a variety of hoops while trying to keep a ping pong ball balanced on my ping pong paddle. I did miserably, but had a good time. Here's another photo of a local carrying bricks up the mountain. Yan'an, despite its tourist industry, is relat,ively poor and the living conditions for many were difficult.
Below is a picture of us at one of the Communist sites (Mao's room, Mao's office, meeting rooms, that kind of thing) and a group of actors performed for us . . after the performance we took a picture together and, unbeknownst to us, the performers had us shouting, “Go Communism” instead of "cheese” when it was time to snap the shot. Actually, the locals ask you to say, "chedzi" (eggplant) to get you to smile. Anyway, Yoni was on the side laughing, and later told us of what we had said for the camera. At the end of this blog is a videoclip, filmed by Tal, of one of Mao's dwellings in Yan'an.
Another adventure involved a short trip to a small city called Hancheng, near the
We took our meals in the courtyard of their home (also constructed precisely according to feng shui principles). And here's another shot of us roaming around the village, was really lovely.
Unfortunately, from this pastoral village to the
This weekend coming up we are headed for our last weekend adventure – just south of Xi'an in the Qinling mountains where we'll visit, among other things, the tomb of the only Empress.
And we are now busy planning for our post China trip: