Today was probably one of my favorite days yet. It was our first full day in Xi’an! This city it much different than Beijing. Beijing was much more spread out while Xi’an is more condensed, similar to the cities in the U.S.A. To start off the day we travelled to the Children’s Village which was a little outside of the city. As were were driving it was really cool to look back and see the city behind us with all the land and trees surrounding it. The children’s village was an incredibly eye opening experience. There are 54 children staying at this village aged between 4-20. These children were taken here because their parents could no longer take care of them due to their incarceration. When we arrived we got a tour around th village and got to see where the children stay. These kids are responsible for a lot of things and are even expected to do their laundry once they hit the age of ten. Following the tour we did a little performance for the kids which was really fun! And we also gave them a lot of candy, I think they loved it!! We played lots of games outside with them including: soccer, ping pong, basketball, and volleyball.. some of the kids were super good! I was impressed. On our way out of the children’s village we stopped at the little shop where girls make and sell pieces out of beads in order to raise money to buy gifts for their parents when they get to visit them, I bought a beautiful keychain!
After our fun morning at the children’s village we then travelled to the Wild Goose Pagoda. This was the tallest architecture in Xi’an up until 1980. There are 50 different monks who live here and worship. It was incredibly interesting to walk around and see the temple and watch others worship the Buddha. We also got to watch a really cool fountain show while we were there!
Once we were finished walking around the Pagoda we went inside for a calligraphy class. The man teaching it was really good and the characters are so intricate! I bought a little poster with my name written in Chinese – the top character means victory, the middle means harmony and good relationship and I got it printed on red paper which represents good fortune.
After this we went to dinner and then back to the market! This market is was insane and unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. There were people everywhere seeing all sorts of things, including lots of food. The smell was quite interesting though, I’m not sure how I feel about it. Finally after lots of walking through the crowded and sketchy market – we reached the store with all the fake brands. I spent way way to much money but I couldn’t help it! Bargaining was so fun and I feel like I got some good deals. We also met a really nice lady, Helen, who did customized calligraphy. She lives above the market and has been doing this for over 30 years!
Today was a really fun day and I’m thankful for all the wonderful experiences! I can’t wait to see the Terra Cotta Warriors tomorrow.