Ezekiel 27:24 “In your marketplace they traded with you beautiful garments, blue fabric, embroidered work and multicolored rugs with cords twisted and tightly knotted.” (NIV)
Xian Mosque and Market Bazaar was a cacophony of color. Calligraphy, art, t-shirts, purses, fancy lacquered chopsticks, embroidered shoes, Buddhist tasseled offerings, bells, and colorful kites were displayed in mass quantities. There were the same silk embroidered pictures we had seen before, rice paper paintings, Chinese clothes in every color and size, cut paper art, and colorful Muslim hats overwhelmed our visual senses.
We left the shops and went for supper with our friend who lives outside of Xian teaching English. She took us to the food market where we were the only white people. We saw skewers of meet lying in the open to be cooked, spices, piles of rice dishes, and sweets enticing us to keep moving. A restaurant seemed a safer idea where she ordered us dumplings in a broth soup. She takes a train, cab, and bus to get back home. We sat on the steps of the underground train station, watched people, and marveled at the packed Starbucks below us.
My husband decided we could walk back to the hotel. That is when we discovered that maps are not to scale in China. After one hour of fast walking, fewer tourists, and trying to read a sign and unsuccessfully requesting help, we stopped a Taxi. You always carry the hotel card with you with the picture, phone, and name in both Chinese and English. We discovered tipping is different for the Chinese taxi driver in 15-minute drive to our hotel. We tried to give him 15 Yuan for 8.50 trip (not much US$) and he would not accept that much, but only accepted 10 Yuan and only when we would not take it back.
Honest, hard working, helpful, kind were the words I use to describe the people of Xian. We were blessed to see and experience China on our own without our guide– if just for a bit.
Have you ever been lost when you are traveling? How did the experience shape your perception of the people? When have you helped foreigners visiting your country?