The Red Menace

November 9, 2006 — Sa Wat Dema

China is big.

Understatement of the century. China is simply an amazing place and nothing like our preconceptions about it. The general feeling you get here is not one of some oppressive communist government, it is just that these people really have their act together (though due to China’s sensorship of the internet and blocking of any “subversive” website, I can post on this blog but I can’t open it up to read it!). I am writing from Xi'an, a medium -sized city in Chinese terms (with 5 million people! Beijing has 13 Million!), and home to the famous terracotta warriors. We saw them yesterday and they are really impressive, especiaslly considering they were built 2000 years ago. They were meant to guard the nearby tomb of the Qin dynasty emporer who united China. His tomb has never been excavated though because ancient texts say that it contains rivers and fountains of mercery. Xi'an itself has a great feel to it and you can walk everywhere. Yesterday, we strolled though the islamic quarter of town and I think I was able to successfully eat every type of street food available. Last night, I ended up going out at a pretty local bar that was not all that different from Murphy’s Bleachers, though the manager made it a point to continually bring over every Chinese girl he could find that needed to practice their english. It was a very good time. Especially considering that the Chinese girls here look nothing like the Chinese - Americans we are used to –they are even hotter here.

A few days ago I climbed a remote section of the Great Wall. Despite freezing temperatures and more wind than Chicago, it was one of the best experiences of my life. I can’t describe the feeling you get when you walk along the wall and see it stretch off across the ridgetops as far as you can see in both directions. It fills you with a sense of infinity. I just wanted to run down the whole thing. You can’t imagine something that is so vast and connects so many people and places. Again, China is big.

Tonight, we board a train to the neon of Shanghai. I bought a copy of Mao’s little red book with all of his communistic teachings in it, so hopefully that will be entertainement for the train. I haven’t read much yet, but I have learned that Work is Struggle, so at least I have that going for me.

Quick fact- everyone here is VERY interested in the mid-term elections in America. I would say they are much more interested than the average american. If anyone gets a chance, please send me a quick synopsis of the results.

Anyway, off to explore the calligraphy area of the city and eat some more dumplings (which are fabulous, especially those stuffed with red bean paste - I know it sounds gross). Talk to you soon.


PS Happy velated birthday Kabeeb!

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