Please excuse any mistakes, I’m too tired to proofread tonight!
Today I decided that we have been cooped up enough waiting for CNY to end, and so we grabbed a taxi and headed down town. Our destination was the Bell Tower and the Drum Tower. We hit the Bell Tower first. The Bell Tower is the traditional center of Ancient Xi An and you can see all four gates from the top. Inside we found a small museum containing pottery that was created between 200 BC and 200 AD. We also had the opportunity to ring The jingyun bell. It was cast in 711 during the Tang Dynasty, 247 cm high and 6,500 kg.
Pie lost it early in the game today and so after our visit to the bell tower we stopped by the 8 story mall next door and purchased a stroller. We could not believe how crowded the mall was, and people were spending, spending, spending! China sure has changed since the first time I visited! At that time (1983) there were no malls only “friendship stores” where you could buy souvenirs. Now you can buy Gucci and Prada. I miss the old China in a way, it is too commercialized now!
Next we headed over to the Drum Tower. It was very similar to the Bell Tower except that it contained drums rather than bells. The girls were anxious to hit the big drum (see video) at the entrance and so we paid our Y10 and took a turn. It was much harder than they thought it would be, but Xuxu and Star managed to get some decent sound out of it! As we walked around the perimeter we discovered that there is a Muslim market on the other side and quickly decided that it was our next destination. Soon after that we heard a performance inside the tower and went straight over to listen to that. We were able to catch the last two songs and I record some of them for your listening pleasure…or not! ;o)
The Muslim market was truly the highlight of our day! I love to get into areas that are not commercialized or touristy, and this felt like about as close as I could get in this area of town. We were there, along with thousands of other folks out enjoying the holidays, so it was very crowded. I tried to get as many photos as I could, but it was difficult in the press of the crowd and also keeping track of the girls.
Part of our adventure is trying new foods and the Muslim market gave us that opportunity today. We tried quail eggs, roasted corn on the cob, candied crab apples and a white floss type candy that tastes like peanuts. (I took a really long video tape of them pulling this candy like taffy and it turned out I wasn’t taping…will do again!) The girls actually liked everything they tried and so are more than willing to give it a go next time around.
We came home around 4:30 and headed up to see the babies. I rocked Anthony to sleep (what a sublime experience…oh how I wish I could bring this baby boy home!) Then, I played with Ma Lin who had just gotten up from a nap. That boy has TERRIBLE eye contact and it is so sad to see at such a young age! I try and try to get him to look at me, and at this point all I can do is smile big and tell him how much he is loved when I do get a glimpse! Hopefully our time here will make a difference for him! Xuxu spent time with her favorites, and Megan fell asleep in her arms. Mouse continues to love on Jack and he is loving her right back (he loves to stick out his tongue and play peek a boo) and Star is managing to get time in with a very shy little girl who won’t even give Xuxu and I the time of day. Pie is doing much better and is actually starting to play with the babies rather than the toys. We were with the babies for 2 hours and then they had to go to bed, so we’re now back in the apt. getting ready for bed ourselves.
See the short video here.
BTW, if you are interested in seeing a larger version of a photos, just click on it!