Tag Archives: Xi’an

Experiencing China

It has been now over six months since our last holiday in China. It was a great trip and we are already planning for next years holiday session in the Middle Empire. I have mentioned it countless of times that for so many years we never really managed it to go anywhere besides Xi’an. This year was different as we had that wonderful week in Japan (Tokyo, Thomas Land and Osaka) and we are kind of planning on having next year a week-long trip in Thailand. This is not set in stone especially when taking into consideration that we should have been already to Korea, Taiwan, Bali, the Maldives and so forth. Main problem was always that my wife turns into a complete couch potato once we arrive at her home in China.

Some temple somwhere in Sichuan

Anyhow even in case we won’t manage it to Thailand I am still looking forward to visiting China again. For one it is of course the food and I think I don’t need to touch that subject again as writing about it and sharing pictures makes too many people hungry. It is for me more like the whole experience in China. Even though I have seen so little so far it has been always such an interesting experience especially as each region or even parts of the city are so different. I have been mostly only to Xi’an but already there each section of the city has its own vibe. It goes as far as each “block” can be so different compared to the next one. For example the area where my in-laws are living looks to many people (like my parents) like a city shortly after an air raid while as the next block is a complete different matter as everything is relative clean and nice looking. However between those blocks the feeling is already different as in the older parts everywhere you have those wonderful street kitchens which are more rare or even non-existent in richer areas.

Music in the streets

It feels sometimes to surreal to drive on some roads passing by mountains which look like just from paintings. To have old temples and other historical buildings right next to some huge shopping centres. Just going a bit outside the cities you even encounter traditional clay brick buildings and even cave houses. Of course there are always downsides to the whole experience especially due to pollution or overcrowded tourist spots but it does not really bother me that much. For me each holiday in China is unique as even in Xi’an I find new interesting thing which each visit. For next year we have another novelty as we kind of have to decide where we want to stay: Either in MIL’s new apartment in the middle of nowhere or in the old one where FIL is staying right in the city center with all the best food around. Guess this decision is a no-brainer.

Do you have already plans for holidays in 2019?

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Strawberries and Raisins

During our trip in China this year we really just started to see how different many things are. I don’t mean basics such as language, culture or anything like that. It is more the “think big” mentality in so many aspects especially buildings. Let’s take shopping malls as an example. Growing up in Europe I have visited too many shopping malls over the years. I always thought that they are pretty huge but oh boy was I wrong after really visiting multiple ones this time in China. While the shopping malls are big in Europe (the ones I have visited in several countries at least) they still don’t go overboard and usually just offer enough space for the shops and few restaurants, nothing more.

We were not even at the bottom of that side wing of the mall

In China it is a bit different, very much different. Alone the malls we have visited in Xi’an are just not normal in any way. For example there is the one mall with just some kind of glass roof (of course not glass, some other new transparent material which is like 90% lighter than glass or something like that) without any real walls. So you have that nice roof against the rain and the shops and restaurants are located in some smaller buildings beneath it. Now what will protect you in the hottest summer months from melting on the spot when walking around there as there is of course no air condition? Water mist of course! All around the pathways and buildings water mist is being sprayed every five minutes or so to cool down the air. I have seen similar before but that was on a totally different scale compared to this huge shopping center. Besides this very interesting cooling system there are some attractions such as a huge pillar covered in LED panels which sometimes looks like a giant tree or at other times like a crystal. Furthermore there is a gigantic “waterfall” which sprays water in certain rhythm combined with some music every hour or so. It is hard to explain so check out the picture and of course the Instagram post I had back then.

Some kind of musicish, lightish, waterish thingy thing

 

Then there is the nice other mall which has probably more restaurants on one floor compared to my hometown and all its surrounding villages combined. It is just insane to have that many different restaurants in one mall, it took us one hour to actually select one we liked as there were just too many to choose from. Besides that the mall also has a waterfall, okay not one waterfall but several spanning over five or six floors with gold fishes in the ponds in between. Sadly I do not have a picture of that as I was first of all too amazed by it, then I was too hungry to hold the camera and third of all I was scared for my life as thousands of other people were streaming through the passageways in that mall and I tried not be trampled to death.

Exhausted from eating

I do not know why these experiences amazed me so much this time in China. For some reason I experience China each time a bit different or to be more precise I realize or learn something new and different during each visit. I had been in so many malls before in China but those visits never flashed me like this year. Strawberries and raisins anyone? Yes I can change topics in such smooth way but now you will learn what I mean with that headline.

Yay for a the looks of that cake

Our dear Nathalie had her first birthday in China and we had to celebrate it with the whole family. One certain thing had to be at the celebration as well, one thing  we had to walk and wait ages for: the birthday cake. This cake looked so great (and cute) now guess my horror when I took the first bite of that great looking strawberry cake to taste raisins. Yes raisins. Why on earth anybody in this world would add raisins into a strawberry cake? This was officially the worst cake I have ever tried in my life. This is something you give someone you hate, not love! Writing this I got goosebumps again from that horrid memory this cake has caused. Thankfully Nathalie is still too young to  have any memory of this experience but I am still in shock how the whole rest of the family had apparently no problems with that cake and even stated how good it tasted.

Trying to take a group picture with Nathan, impossible…

 

Have you ever tasted something like a strawberry raisin cake?

Be sure to follow me also on Facebook and on Twitter as I will post there occasionally pictures which do not find their way into my blog posts. Furthermore there is also my Instagram account in which from time to time some pictures and short videos might pop up.

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Sightseeing in Xi’an

We have been multiple times in Xi’an and visited each time some new locations. The most we saw back in 2011 during our first holiday there when my parents were both visiting. Over the years I developed a better understanding about the city compared to my wife who grew up there. She is kind of resisting in learning anything new about her home town and she has zero sense of direction thus making every place we visit new to her even though we had been there before. So how to decide what places to show when friends are coming for a weekend visit?

Peaceful times at the Guangren Temple

Those friends are all from my wife as they were together in the same dormitory when studying in Finland during their first year (in Kajaani to be precise, my wife moved later to Helsinki). All those friends kept close contact over the years even though some moved back to China, others stayed in Finland and we moved to Germany.  Now when we had our holiday in April/ May in China and some of them decided to come over for a visit. All of those friends married and got kids so we had a bit bigger group coming over which required some good planning. My wife had grand plans for her friends, very grand plans. They all failed.

View from the City Wall

They did not fail because of not putting enough heart and time in them. No they failed because my wife didn’t consider two things. First of all she has zero sense of direction and has no clue at all how long it takes to go to some location and second of all she did not consider that her friends mess up plans completletly each time, every single time and are always, really always late. Because of this mess we only saw few sightseeing spots such as the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda with the Fountain show, the Small Wild Goose Pagoda, the City Wall, the Muslim Quarter, Guangren Temple, Qinglong Temple, the City God Temple and few other temples of which I have no clue about theirnames any longer.

Some Booze at the Guangren Temple

Just to show you why all planning failed I give you two examples. The complete lack of any kind of sense of direction of my wife lead to a rather embarrassing failure. She had the grand plan of going with all people to the City Wall, walk a bit on it till we reach the city center and go eating in some famous restaurant. You see the City Wall goes all around the old city center and is roughly 14km long.  So we entered the City Wall at the West Gate where my in-laws live. For some unknown reason my wife had the idea that you could walk on the city wall straight to the old city center (note it still goes all around, not through the city…). She had this plan also while facing 36 Degrees Celsius and walking together with little kids. Needless to say everyone gave up after not even managing 800m on the wall (out of the needed 5km on the wall and further 2km walking to the restaurant) and going to eat in some small restaurant near the wall entrance.

#Nathancuty just like a real German tourist, Sandals and Socks! (plus Adidas Shirt)

Now to the problem how her friends mess up plans each time and are always late. On the second day we planned to meet up at 10 in the morning to take a little walk and eat at a restaurant famous for Liangpi. Shortly before we arrived they called us that they just woke up and bought some beef noodles for breakfast. For breakfast! By the time everyone was ready to move it was already 12 and all of them were too full to go eating for the next hours leaving my wife, Nathan and me starving. You might say something like this can happen from time to time but this actually happens each time we meet them (also during our short Finland trip this summer, but that is stuff for another blog article).

Even though nearly everything went wrong what could have gone wrong we still had a great time with them. It was really nice to meet them again and their kids. Sure there were frustrating moments but living each year 3 months with MIL made me kind of immune to such things.

Do you have friends who are always late or mess up all your planning?

Be sure to follow me also on Facebook and on Twitter as I will post there occasionally pictures which do not find their way into my blog posts. Furthermore there is also my Instagram account in which from time to time some pictures and short videos might pop up.

https://www.facebook.com/CrazyChineseFamily

https://twitter.com/CraChineseFam

https://www.instagram.com/Crazychinesefamily