After our visit to the Army of Terracotta Warriors and the requisite nap, we awoke refreshed and ready to go again. Well, the Missus was ready to go....my foot was still not in great shape, but I was easily "coaxed" into getting out and about. Also, just as quickly as the rain had arrived, it has melted away during the afternoon and it looked like it had never rained at all! The Missus decided that since we were right at the South gate, we should catch the bus to the Big Goose Pagoda area. It wasn't a very long bus ride........
The area North of the Pagoda and Da Ci'en temple is very popular, with a huge pool (someone told me 20,000 square meters). I believe this is where the musical fountain show takes place at night....sorry, it's not really our kind of thing. There were a good amount of people milling about, but the square and surrounding gardens is so large it really doesn't seem that bad.
We ended up just walking around the gardens and shopping area. If you take a look at this photo you'll notice a couple of things. First, there's a walkway across the pool. If you're on the North end, it looks like folks are walking through or on the water.
Of course we just had to this, right????? Which we ended up doing with about ten thousand other tourists. Second, if you look at the photo above, you'll notice the air pollution that was creeping in. The somewhat uncomfortable smog made its way back pretty quickly in spite of the rain earlier that day.
During our travels, we'd often come across statues or locations that the Missus instantly knew. Such was the case with this statue. I had no clue, but the Missus instantly told me, "it's Lu Yu....the Sage of Tea." The sage of tea? Yep, that's what She said...... Lu Yu is famous for authoring the first writing solely dedicated to tea, called "The Classic of Tea". He is considered the grand master of the tea ceremony.
My favorite statue was this one.....
It is called "Gongsun Flying sword", and for some reason I was fascinated by it. During the Tang there was a sword dancer in Emporer Xuanzong's court who was the greatest of them all named Gongsun Da Niang. Not much is known about Gongsun Da Niang, other than a mention in a poem by Du Fu of a sword dance by a pupil of Gongsun's, which hinted at her greatness. You gotta love stories like these......
By this time dusk was starting to settle in and we decided to grab something to eat and walk back to our hotel. This was an interesting walk back....the sights, smells, and sounds came at you from everywhere.
We had thoughts of heading back to Jia Shan for even more Guan Tang Baozi (which we did later anyway), but we decided on something a bit different. And how decided was a bit odd.....in what was a somewhat alarming site, we saw a girl of about ten or eleven drop her drawers with the help of her mother and urinate right on the sidewalk....right on the main street in public. Actually it was right in front of this restaurant.
The Missus and I walked along for a bit....but we really felt bad for that restaurant(that really didn't deserve someone walking by and just urinating in front of it) and the Missus said it was a Hunan restaurant.....which grabbed my attention. I mean really, there are very few restaurants that serve "real" Hunan food...and a couple of them are among my favorites. I recall feeling quite proud back in the late '90's taking my Father In Law(who is from Hunan) to Henry's Hunan in San Francisco, only to have the Missus tell me..."this isn't real Hunan food." Boy have I learned a bit since then.
This little Mom and Pop joint that seemed to sell a good amount of beer to wash the spicy food down had all the Hunan standards on the menu.
The stir fried pickled green beans, one of our favorites, stir fried with chilies was quite good.
The green beans were quite good, briney and sour......though this wasn't very spicy at all.
We also ordered the La Rou (waxy meat) Chao, the smoked pork that is a staple in Hunan cuisine in a stir fry.
We both thought the pork was good, smokey, with the right sort of decadent waxiness we enjoy. The dish had the right amount of saltiness, but was again a bit short in heat. We both came to the conclusion that even though the ingredients were right, the spiciness was probably toned down for the Shaanxi palate.
The last dish was something the Missus wanted, a simple soup with greens.
The Missus enjoys the somewhat chlorophyll - medicinal flavors in these type of soups. I've just never developed a taste for them. She finished the whole bowl! Not in the photo was the rice we had with this meal.......we hadn't had rice in about a week.
We rolled on out of the restaurant and headed back to the hotel. As we arrived at the South gate we could hear music playing, with the chatter of voices rising above the music. There was giggling coming from a portion right outside the gate that was cordoned off and covered in tarps. A series of parks line the perimeter right outside the city walls of Xi'an....and there was a whole lotta' socializing going on. In the part that was covered for "privacy" there were folks dancing, some ballroom style, others...well, I'd best call it pseudo-free form I guess.
The Missus really enjoyed this......it's part of the normal routine for folks to go for a walk, socialize, and other activities during the evening. And we were seeing part of the social fabric that holds China together. Though we did notice that it was the young, as in children under twelve and folks before the tail end of Generation X taking part in these activities.
I really enjoyed strolling along....there seemed to be a vibrancy and sense of community that I really didn't feel during the day going on here. Plus, I thought the city walls looked quite pretty during the evening.
Thanks for reading!