Monday, February 26, 2007

Some interesting experiences in Xi'an...

We arrived in Xi'an this morning at about 9:00AM. We left Tianjin yesterday at about the same time. It was pretty sad leaving Elizabeth and Kevin and the kids. Our time in Tianjin was so wonderful and we really didn't want it to end. Joseph, being one of the most caring kids on Earth, was devastated by the whole affair. I kept telling him we'd probably see him in a year or two, but he wouldn't accept it. The girls and Izaak seemed to be okay with it. I don't think Izaak really clued in though because he kept pulling me away from the door to play wheels. Elizabeth packed us a whole duffle bag full of delicious breads, fruits and other assorted snacks, which was thoroughly enjoyed on the train. The train was an experience... Sitting crammed in for 22 hours just doesn't really work for us Canadians. We are used to having personal space and one just doesn't have any in China.

Our nationality became a point of discussion for what seemed like the entire carriage that night. Everywhere around us we could hear: "Blah blah blah Chanada! Ooo eee! Chanada! Chanada? Blah blah Chanada blah blah." It was pretty funny and I could still hear people mentioning us even at 4:00 AM. The fact that I was awake then was not so humourous though...We didn't get much sleep on account of the uncomfortable nature of the train as well as a certain loud-talker in the next row.

Xi'an is, from what we can gather, the epicentre of Spring Festival. The train station was packed and the ticket booth line-ups were probably four hours long, so we didn't bother. We opted for a sleeper bus to Chengdu, the bus station being much less crowded. Still, the concept of the queue does not exist here, as you may well know. Everyone just pushes in a huge mass and screams at those at the front to hurry up. The street life is marvellous and we walked around taking photos for a long while. I sat down next to some old ladies and asked if I could take their picture. They consented and after I had taken a couple shots, I showed them how digital cameras worked. They were enthralled. It was just shortly before this that I was called over by a friendly-looking woman, who then asked if I wanted a "massage." I know very well that these massages are of the extremely comprehensive variety, so I quickly said "no" and walked away. Laughing, she then grabbed my shirt and pulled me towards her! I pulled away and part of my shirt ripped. She was really apologetic but I still walked away very quickly. So now I have to find someone to mend my shirt...

Tomorrow we will be renting some bikes and riding around the city walls of Xi'an. Afterwards, we will probably take the bus out to the Terracotta Warriors.

Hope to hear from you all,


Nathan said...

"Herro soldier boy..... me ruv you rong time...."

maman said...

HAHA!! ....a day in the life of a Canadian tourist..:-) Which shirt got ripped, the red one?

Anonymous said...

blah,blah, blah like that trip was alot of fun...and this young lady, she must have thought you were really cute...and that you neede a safe Wil...where are you going next? Are you able to download some picture anytime soon? I would love to see some new pic's, and I am sure others would too. When will you be coming back to Canada?
I hope you will be back in time for Ryan and Sarah's wedding in June
Aunt Sue

bri said...

Aw it must be hard to leave the kids! That sounds like quite the train ride... I wonder what kind of things they were saying about you haha.

Today is my dad's birthday... I bought him a poker set; I'm so excited! Hopefully I'll remember a few of the strategies you taught me years back. :D

Carla said...

Ha! I can imagine all the "ooo eee"s. Sounds like you're quite the popular guy over there!

My blog address is I mean to update it soon, but I haven't been able to figure out how to post a YouTube video on it just yet, so that's bugging me.

Julie said...

"It was just shortly before this that I was called over by a friendly-looking woman, who then asked if I wanted a "massage." I know very well that these massages are of the extremely comprehensive variety, so I quickly said "no" and walked away."

What do you mean?
What does a "massage" really mean?

Julie "can't figure out the obvious" van Engen

Will said...

Hey everyone,

Nathan, I miss you almost as much as I miss South Park...

It was my black t-shirt. I am trying to find a little old lady to fix it. We saw just that today in Chengdu, an old lady with a cart and sewing supplies, but unfortunately I didn't think to bring the shirt.

Hey Aunty Sue,
Downloading photos to the blog can be quite time-consuming but rest assured you will be sent a CD after the trip. Perhaps tomorrow I will post some photos. Austin is less lazy than I so if you want, check out his blog for photos. I would like to be back for Ryan and Sarah's wedding but I'm not sure right now if I will be able to be there. P.S. What's Ryan's email?

Hey Bri,
It was indeed sad to leave the kids and I miss them all so much. Your dad will like the poker set! Just remember what I taught you: play premium hands!

Hey Carla,
As my cousin said, it only takes an apt Mandarin-speaking Canadian, Mark Rowswell, and forever our country's people will be revered. He came to Tianjin some years ago and became so confident with his Mandarin that he did some stand-up comedy duel type thing on television, and was quite good at it.

Hey Julie,
The type of "massage" which I was offered was one of those "full-body" massages, if you catch my drift.