Thursday, April 7, 2011

City Walls

When in Xi'an, one thing you absolutely cannot miss is the opportunity to bicycle around the ancient city walls. The big red box i drew on this map is where the walls are. I don't think it looks big here, but its almost 12km and took us over an hour of fast peddling.

One of the greatest benefits of being on top of the walls is that you really get a good feel for Xi'an. Not only the size of it, or the process of development it constantly suffers under, and not even just the architecture and buildings or the wall itself - the best benefit of being on top of this wall is that you can look down onto small scenes of everyday life in China and not feel like you are intruding. You can take pictures of a lovely old couple without being a flashy white tourist with a massive camera in their faces. You can spy children playing in parks and marketplace scenes which aren't created for a tourist audience. It is truly lovely. I feel familiar with Xian now, I understand so much more about its real residents and the way they interact. I get the pulse of the place now. I really do.

What the old buildings really used to be like.

An actual local market.

I can't help but wonder what this old man will cook and where he lives and what he has seen.
He doesn't even know I took this photo. He never will.

This is such an example of typical China. The government spends a fortune making the sidewalk look lovely and clean with trees are planted all in a row.
The new cement walls are just high enough to hide the slums right behind them.

There is essentially no retirement age in China.

Classic Xi'an

Typical mass-housing.


Kites Ahoy!!!

Don't forget though, dear friends, that China is a strange place. People do strange things when they know others are watching. They do ludicrous things when they think nobody is watching...


No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...