Phreaky Essays: Xi'an

8

Breakphreak's next stop on his travels through China took place in Xi'an. Read on to find out more about this wonderful city, and learn a bit of Chinese while you are at it!

Xi’an was the destination point for the journey part, made together with Matthias and Ella. Xi’an is also the place when I’ve started to try to read Chinese city names on long-distance buses :)

Some of the hieroglyphs are very illustrative and easy to remember: the most classic
example is , meaning “mountain”, stands for person, is “gate”. Near toilets you’ll always find and (easy, right?). There are more complicated but still well-understandable characters, like , meaning “road” or “street” – to me it looks like man and woman having a walk together :) or – kinda sun, coming up from the horizon – riiiight – that means “morning”. Xi’an (Western Peace) is “西安”, by the way.

Another interesting fact is that many Asian languages like Mandarin, Cantonese, Japanese and Korean use nearly the same characters, but those characters have extremely different pronunciations (even within China), so that writing one to another is a common practice to resolve mutual misunderstanding. Also, there are several verbs for “don’t
understand”: one is “bu ming-bai”, while the other is “ting-bu-dong”, literally meaning “hear, but don’t understand” :)

So, Xi'an – the really big megapolis, is the ultimate center of nearly everything. Let’s start from one of the historical parts: the “Big Goose Pagoda” and its surrounding complex (once been a monastery). The pagoda was first built during VII-th century and was rebuilt 50 years after, accompanied by the new stories. The design was based on ancient Indian wild goose pagoda (stupa), hence the “Wild Goose Pagoda” name.

Yeah, we’ve been inside and seen everything, but mainly the panoramic view of the city. Sometimes the
information follows the events, though I do try to learn from my own mistakes, such as: just near the pagoda there is a huge square with the biggest music fountain in Asia (missed). On the other hand, you can’t have it all in a single trip :)

The world-wide known historical site is the Terracota Army – thousands of soldiers, a part of Qin Shi Huang mausoleum. That was the first Chinese emperors that not only united six kingdoms into an empire (paying all kinds of prices like: murders, bribes and spy networks to mention a few), but also had standardized units of measurements and legal system; built a network of roads and canals, promoting trade and transportation and also unified the Chinese script.

So, to save you from the rest of the details: we were there, the lightning conditions were not perfect, but it looks kinda cool with the Diana F+ the Fisheye lens and much less cool on site. Too much tourists, too much hype, the army is kinda far and only in one place only several soldiers can be observed from a close distance, so (no offense) this commercialized
place might be safely skipped, unless you are a historian or an archaeologist and have a special permit to get much closer to the items.

Terracotta soldiers in all sizes and also the copies of army general’s head can be seen almost in every shop, eating place or pub, like a pub of the youth hostel we’ve stayed in:

One evening, four of us got a beer there and started to enjoy the singers, but suddenly realized that they sing in Russian :) We’ve rolled some talk, the girls told me that there are lots of Russian-speaking students in Xi’an (and, actually a lot of students in general). Xi’an is a third academical center of China and university diplomas, received here are
highly valued everywhere.

Xi’an also is a big center of local Muslims. The Muslim quarter (just in the center of
the old town) should not be missed. During the day, you can visit the Great Mosque of
Xi’an

In the evening, the night market opens. Try the Muslim delicious food and buy some musical instruments and traditional Chinese shadow play puppets.

Xian also has the Drum Tower and the Bell Tower. Actually, every traditional Chinese city has those two at all times. The Bell strikes were to indicate time and the Drum sounds were usually used for informational messages passing. The towers are enormously big and each one maintains a museum. Well, museums are everywhere in China, but I still recommend to visit both towers for a simple reason: every two hours a concert is given in each tower (Chinese drums in the Drum Tower and Chinese musical instruments in the Bell Tower). I’ve sampled it all :) Rena took a pic of me :)

The last evening in Xi’an was a big celebration – it was Rena’s birthday! Matthias and Ella brought a big cake with a kind of candle – Rena lighted it – the flower opened and the music started to play.

The battery was very strong, so Matthias took an initiative and artificially interrupted the beautiful concert, so we’ve moved to the shelter pub and had some Absent till the late night.

Next day after the real farewell launch Matthias and Ella returned home (our truly hope is to meet again [and more then once!] in any part of the world) and we got on our train to Wuxi – our next destination. Expect a start of the real Chinese Tea saga – you must not escape it, reading about our journey through China (and we are a big Chinese tea fans since at least several years ago)!

written by breakphreak on 2009-03-06 in #news #terracotta-army #diana-f #xi-an #phreaky-essays #china

8 Comments

  1. lomosexual_manboy
    lomosexual_manboy ·

    Another great entry from your travels. Always a pleasure.

  2. saviorjosh
    saviorjosh ·

    you know a lot of Chinese history!:)
    it's so interesting to read your travelogues as a native Chinese.
    i wish i had the chance to meet you in Beijing. must be fun.

  3. breakphreak
    breakphreak ·

    @saviorjosh: I learn only small facts on Chinese history on the way, I'd wish to know more.

    @all: if you are in Xi'an - develop your films in a big Kodak Express shop near the Drum Tower and _not_ in Fuji Digital (something cant' remember) lab.

  4. eyecon
    eyecon ·

    谢谢 教师! Great report and even nicer pics!

  5. breakphreak
    breakphreak ·

    @eyecon: Dank u, gasten! China is zeer gastvrij!

  6. stouf
    stouf ·

    Yeah great job breakphreak... Once again !!!

  7. breakphreak
    breakphreak ·

    @vicuna: thanks! and a great pleasure ofcourZe :)

  8. eyecon
    eyecon ·

    @breakphreak You are welcome....

More Interesting Articles

  • Shooting in Soho with the Lomo'Instant Splitzer

    written by hannah_brown on 2015-04-17 in #gear #tipster
    Shooting in Soho with the Lomo'Instant Splitzer

    A recent lunchtime break turned into a big analogue adventure when I took the Lomo'Instant camera out with the Splitzer and captured a gloriously sunny day in the heart of Soho, London. I learned a couple of great tips about shooting with this new accessory. Read on to find out more.

  • A Chat with the Founder of STENOFLEX, Eric Marais

    written by jacobs on 2015-03-04 in #people #lifestyle
    A Chat with the Founder of STENOFLEX, Eric Marais

    Eric Marais is the founder of the portable dark-room experience, STENOFLEX. We recently had the chance to ask him some questions and he was kind enough to answer us! Read on to find out more about his company, his interest in photography and what's next for STENOFLEX!

    1
  • Adventurous Photography: The Lomography x Stilpirat Competition Winners

    written by petit_loir on 2015-04-23 in #world #news #competitions
    Adventurous Photography: The Lomography x Stilpirat Competition Winners

    In his audio book, German Petzval LomoAmigo Steffen Böttcher aka Stilpirat talks about his photographic adventures. What are your greatest lomographic adventures? That's what we wanted to know in this competition. Read on to find out who the winners are!

    2
  • Shop News

    Give your space a facelift with your own analogue print

    Give your space a facelift with your own analogue print

    Really want to bring your film photos to life? We’re now offering totally analogue fine art prints in a host of large sizes and formats! Carefully enlarged from your negatives onto premium photographic paper by lab professionals, each picture is a unique piece of craftsmanship.

  • Summer Hot Spots: A Morning Sunbath in Varazze

    written by sirio174 on 2014-08-01 in #world #locations
    Summer Hot Spots: A Morning Sunbath in Varazze

    This is the story of my first adventure on the beach this year. In the middle of June, I took my first sunbath along the seaside on a small public beach in Varazze - a rather small and unkempt place which I will never return to in the future. Read more to find out why!

  • Lomopedia: Fujifilm Clear Shot S AF

    written by cheeo on 2014-08-11 in #reviews
    Lomopedia: Fujifilm Clear Shot S AF

    This camera from Fujifilm boasts easy-to-use features for the 35mm shooter whose main concerns are convenience and vivid photos. Read on to find out more about the Fujifilm Clear Shot S AF.

  • Skate Spots Around the World: A Skater and his Shadow

    written by sirio174 on 2014-06-07 in #world #locations
    Skate Spots Around the World: A Skater and his Shadow

    While walking in Como with my Praktica camera, I found a young skater at a square in my city. After having chosen an elevated position on an overpass, I mounted my 85mm lens and played about with his performance and his shadow. Check it out after the jump!

  • Shop News

    Fuji Instax Wide 300

    Fuji Instax Wide 300

    Shoot wider and bigger with this new instax camera that has film format twice the size of the instax mini films!

  • 'Stilpirat' Steffen Böttcher Lures the Lomography Petzval Lens to France

    written by zonderbar on 2014-10-17 in #people #lomoamigos
    'Stilpirat' Steffen Böttcher Lures the Lomography Petzval Lens to France

    Steffen Böttcher's blog is already home to some very beautiful portraits taken with the New Petzval Lens. But the Petzval does so much more than just taking beautiful portraits; Böttcher recently took the lens with him on a mobile home adventure across the South of France. Find out more about the German photographer and his road trip in this exclusive interview.

  • Newcomer of the Week: life_on_acetate

    written by icequeenubia on 2014-06-01 in #lifestyle
    Newcomer of the Week: life_on_acetate

    His best friend and fellow lomographer weleasewoger72 used to make him feel bad about using an IPhone to take pictures. However, after trying out a Diana F+, our Newcomer of the Week, life_on_acetate, decided to ditch the digital territory and try his hand at analogue photography. Read on to find out more about this fascinating story of friendship and film photography!

    2
  • Sprocket Rocket: An Economical Panoramic Camera

    written by simonesavo on 2014-07-02 in #reviews
    Sprocket Rocket: An Economical Panoramic Camera

    The Sprocket Rocket is one of the most popular cameras among Lomographers. The camera is available in 9 beautiful colors and is capable of producing beautiful panoramic photos thanks to the ultra wide lens. Read on to find out more about this panoramic wonder!

  • Shop News

    the perfect surprise for every analogue loving enthusiast

     the perfect surprise for every analogue loving enthusiast

    Let your loved one pick the gift of their dreams. Lomography Online Shop Gift Certificates are the perfect present for every analogue devotee on your gift list

  • My First Lomo Affair: Clownshoes and his Lomo Smena Symbol

    written by icequeenubia on 2014-06-05 in #lifestyle
    My First Lomo Affair: Clownshoes and his Lomo Smena Symbol

    For a short time, Blaine Vernicek, otherwise known as clownshoes in our Community, needed to be away from his beloved muse, Miss Katie, and stay in another state because of his new job. But thanks to his Lomo Smena Symbol, he was able to bring with him photographs of his sweetheart that somehow helped him forget the unnerving distance between them. Read on to find out more about this heartwarming story in this installment of My First Lomo Affair!

    7
  • Fed 5 - My First Analogue Camera in 2015

    written by whimsicalgrid on 2015-01-23 in #reviews
    Fed 5 - My First Analogue Camera in 2015

    Before the end of 2014, my girlfriend took the plunge of purchasing a rangefinder camera from eBay as a late Christmas gift for me. Let me present to you: the Fed 5. The Fed 5 has been known as a copy of the Leica M3 rangefinder camera. It is inexpensive compared to Leica models. So what are my experiences of using the Fed 5? Read on to find out more.

    6
  • RYU x RIO: World Cup 2014 on Kodak Aerochrome Film

    written by zonderbar on 2014-08-11 in #news
    RYU x RIO: World Cup 2014 on Kodak Aerochrome Film

    Weeks have passed and yet Germans are still celebrating the victory of their heroic football team. Shortly before the World Cup started, we took notice of an interesting photography project on Kickstarter. Berlin-based sports photographer Ryu Voelkel called for help to create a football photography book like no other. The campaign was successfully funded. Ryu made his way to Brazil and came back with amazing shots including some very special Kodak Aerochrome photographs. Meet Ryu and learn more about him and his special moments at the WC 2014.

    1