Sunday, September 21, 2008

Friday's Site Seeing Wrap Up

Okay, let's get back on track with the beautiful scenes from around Xian. Below is the drum tower, followed by the bell tower across the plaza. These towers were used in ancient times (remember, the city wall around Xian was built over 600 years ago) to signal the opening and closing of the city gates at the beginning and ending of the days. They were also used to send other warning signals or announcements of sorts throughout the city. We walked from our hotel to this plaza area on Friday afternoon, after our visit to the South Gate and the City Wall and after Aidan and The Boss got a good nap. No matter how tired I am, I can't seem to sleep in the afternoons here. The Boss on the other hand, sleeps every time we sit down on the couch for more than 4 minutes :)

Below is the De Fa Chang Dumpling restaurant. Check out the banner announcing their title under the Chinese characters. No small amount of pride there!

The courtyard in front of the restaurant and its neighboring stores was full of people enjoying the cooler air and breezy evening. There were vendors with kites, fans, t-shirts, hats, and all kinds of toys. Little kids were riding their bikes and it seemed as if everyone was watching the Western couple with the gorgeous Chinese baby. Everywhere we go, we get smiles and nods, questioning glances, and even some older folks patting the baby and making eyes at her. She smiles away, clapping and waving - as if she's used to the entourage.

This is the entry way to the dumpling restaurant. None of the dumplings shown here are real, but meant to show interested diners all the different varieties available. Our guide, Jo, had called ahead to make a reservation for their "dumpling banquet" and specified that we preferred nothing too exotic or "scary." Yes, she used the word "scary." I didn't even ask what she meant, but she offered anyway: no animal organs, no frogs, and no dog. Yes. She said dog. What a great start to a new culinary adventure.

This is a big, golden dumpling. No, Shaggy, it is not real and you cannot take it home and eat it. :)

Here are our non-exotic, non-scary, non-dog dumplings. They were filled with everything from chicken and peppers, to veggies and tofu, to pork and leeks, to walnuts with almonds and brown sugar. My favorite was the pumpkin and roast pork dumpling. The Boss liked them all. Aidan liked the pork and leek ones. I cut them up in tiny pieces and she picked them up a little at a time between bites of mashed bananas and green peas. Funny story: even the waitresses here noticed that Aidan ate non-stop from the time she sat down till we left. This girl has earned that little belly she's sportin'!

I don't know about the rest of you, but I am totally impressed by The Boss's bravery in sampling all the new foods put in front of him. I am equally impressed with his chopstick skills - he has not left one meal hungry and uses those things almost like the natives! I excuse my lack of dexterity and gracefulness by making sure I'm cutting up food for Aidan all the while that I'm feeding myself. Can't very well cut up a dumpling with chopsticks, now can ya?!

It was a great experience. We are a big dumpling loving family, so this was a special treat for us to be able to enjoy. However, I must agree with our guide, Jo, on this: the dumpling banquet is a fun experience to be able to have. But at the end of the day, the common man's dumpling of pork and veggies is my favorite. Steamed, fried or boiled, just dunk me one in a bit of soy sauce or teriyaki and I'm a happy gal.

Next post, I'll share our amazing day at the TerraCotta Warriors Museum. It was a long drive out there, but well worth the trip. We loved every single minute of it.

Finally, thank you all for your prayers for Aidan, and for The Boss and I. We woke this morning feeling refreshed and Aidan is less stuffy. Her cough is still fuller than I'd like, but we are pleased with her progress. We should be fine for the 2 1/2 hour flight to Guangzhou on Tuesday. Please pray that her passport is processed and finalized early tomorrow to allow for our flight out. The tickets for that flight can't be purchased till we have the passport finalized.


Megan said...

My uncle and aunt adopted their 2nd from China this past April. She is 6 years old. She eats NONSTOP and then goes back for more! She gained 12 pounds in her first 6 weeks in the US. And she still does not way more than 35 pounds! We had a big family cookout back in June, with fresh clams, literally straight from the ocean to our door (my bro likes to go clamming). Well Jasmine loved those things, she ate about 25 clams, plus all of the other food! Last update I received, she continues to gain weight and has even grown a few inches in height! The doctors are very pleased. And she has slowed down a bit in the devouring everything she sees!

Kimberly said...

Hi! This is the first chance I've had to catch up on blogs for a few days and I am really glad I did! it sounds like y'all are having a wonderful trip, and experiencing many of the same ups and downs of emotion that we are. It's a dream come true to be here- with our children!- but a very emotional time and being far from home isn't always easy. I have to admit that I am a little jealous that you are in Xian. DH and I saw the Samantha Brown special too, and spent a lot of time saying, "I wish we could see that!" I was rather naive then and didn't realize that sightseeing is a little different with a small one. :-) One's attention is definitely divided!

I hope everything goes smoothly with Aidan's passport and y'all have a smooth trip to GZ. I'm a bit nervous about flying with an infant; thankfully, DH has done this before. Aidan is just SO CUTE!! I hope our paths cross in GZ.


Kateri said...

Hey T!
Glad to hear that Aidan is feeling better. The Boss and David sound a lot a like. I couldn't take a nap either but he was always catching some extra zzz's.
I'm so glad that you're heading to Guangzhou soon. We loved it there! Our only regret (though it really wasn't our choice) was that we only had 3 days there. I would have loved to stay longer in Gz than in Province. Though Nanning was nice, Gz was more of my cup of tea...or atleast as much as China can be my cup of tea:)
Head to Lucy's, sit outside in the courtyard, and have a burger for me, would ya?!
Thanks for the updates and your amazing way with words:)
Miss you,

Norma said...

So happy you are enjoying Xi'an. We spent 3 weeks there in March. We will continue to include you and all the others in China we are following, as they travel, until you are safely home. Baby looks adorable!!!

julie said...

My husband would have LOVED those dumplings. He is like your hubby and can eat with those dang chop sticks with no problem. Me, not so much.

So glad Aidan is feeling better. Sending prayers your way.


Jonni, John & Sofia said...

So glad to hear that Aidan is feeling better now.

That dumpling restaurant looks awesome! Wish I was there too. Love the line you arote about non-exotic, non-scary, non-dog dumplings. Too funny! Just think you are almost to GZ.


Mervy said...

well...I have to admit - I would say throw in the scary dumplings. Why not?!?! When the roommie went to Ecuador, she tried GUINEA PIG. If you did that here, some animal activist would hunt you down - the SPCA would be all over you - but in China - you can try scary "non-American" types of meat - like cat, dog.

April Isaacs said...

Hi! I am following your trip. I have had a hard time commenting though. We came home on Thursday 9/18 and we just got power last night (Sat 9/20). We were part of the Ohio hurricane. Great way to come home!!

Aiden is so cute! Isn't it so great to finally be doing all the things we dreamed about for so long?? Now that I am home, I am like, "Did I really go to China??"

Soak it all up, well... all of it but the smells:-)

Praying for you!

Anonymous said...

Yum, you are making me hungry! Hope A. continues to feel better. I will pray. This week and weekend - we celebrated D's 14th! I am having a hard time even saying it! He is adorable tho - don't tell him I said that!

Happy Bday to BBE!


Much love,

VikingClanEnMass said...

Fun! OK, I'm hungry...gotta go get some lunch for me and VikingBoy4! Then off to the store for stuff to make peach jam! YUM!