Thursday, May 27, 2010

Xian Diary Day 8 The Public Square

We continue on our China journey today! You can see all posts here.

Day 8 was our last morning in Xian, since our flight was not until 1 PM we decided to visit 2 venues before we leave. There is quite a few things to share on this busy morning, I am splitting them up into 2 posts.

Earlier in the week, we were awakened by disco music from the public square located across our hotel. Since then, we welcomed our 6:30 AM wake-up call and enjoyed the view while we ate breakfast, click here to see. After a couple of days, overwhelmed with curiosity we headed down for a closer look.

There were different activity groups, we were drawn to the crowd below because of their colorful fans, such pretty colors. The fanless lady in red looked like the instructor, she stopped the music a couple of times and repeated some moves before moving on to other steps. Everyone seemed to be having fun, they smiled and laughed at times. Some even held handkerchiefs in their left hands, we noticed there was also a man in the group. We wondered what the name of the dance was, there was no one to ask, everybody was too busy participating we hesitated to interrupt.
This group featured velvet handkerchiefs in both hands and was very energetic and coordinated. The dance looked so happy and was to a different tune than the fan crowd above. I was instantly reminded of my dance classes in Singapore, my teacher was very strict with how we moved, but boy did we ever look good as a group.
The classical music by the fountain caught our attention, several couples were ballroom dancing. Before our China visit, we saw documentaries where people gathered to dance at night and had no idea we would experience this activity at day time. How romantic and delightful!
A tai chi master in action, I like his costume and his shoes. Not included in the picture was the group of students behind him, they followed his every move.
Moments before I captured the lady in red, she stood on one leg while the other was lifted close to her head, a sign of her expertise in the martial arts. She looked formidable even in this posture.
Another group practiced tai chi, or could this be Qigong? Nearby a record played, a woman's voice instructed their every step, even when to breathe in or out.
We were thrilled to see this small group of elderly working out! They looked to be in good health, their swords looked heavy yet were moved about with ease.
A neat row of bicycles parked at the edge of the public square, no doubt the people's preferred method of transportation.
The locals went about their daily routine, this man looked like he was on the way to the produce market.
Yet another cyclist rode in the same direction as the man above. His colorful bags filled with various root vegetables, potatoes and yams of different kinds, even green onions. We wondered where the market was.
Against the oncoming traffic below, the same cyclist weaved in and out. On the right a street cleaning machine had just finished sweeping the road. Every morning of our stay in Xian, we could hear the vehicle hummed a cheerful children's tune and missed this terribly when we left.
Below, a lasting image of Xian. A man practiced Chinese calligraphy on the sidewalk outside his gallery shop as his wife looked on.

At the public square that morning I saw a much older man working on his calligraphy the same way, brush in one hand, a small rusty pail of water on the floor. He shared with me a phrase from his book of poetry: I have gone through all kinds of hardships, I can get through another trial if I were to endure a little more, a little while longer... True words of wisdom.

He then read me the letter from Mao Zedong to his comrade Zhou Enlai, who had died and Mao was unable to attend his funeral. He expressed his regrets and revered him as a friend, a husband and most of all, a nationalist. In the short time we were in China I noticed the Communist values were deeply ingrained in the people. Elders would be offered seats on the bus, strangers were addressed respectfully as Big Brother and Big Sister.

We noted the people at the square were an older generation. As I chatted with the old man, a young man with a labtop bag walked by, totally oblivious to his surroundings. Is this where China is heading?

We had spent over an hour at the square, it was time to leave and head on to our next venue. We bid farewell to the old man and walked towards the bus. Until next week, our China adventure continues!


  1. I leave near by a chinese district (belleville) and there is a nice park i am walking by some mornings.
    everywhere in the park, i can see chinese people practicing martial arts (i would not know which one).
    it is so great, but i never dared taking some pictures.

  2. Another wonderful post! I am enjoying these photos.

  3. It's allways so nice to read your comments on my blog!! Thank you for that:) And these photo's are really good.

  4. Thank you so much you guys!

    Elisabelle: I wish I live by a park like yours!