These are eight, random "Daily Photographs" from my personal Flickr collection.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Day 9 - The Beginning of the Silk Road

I suppose as a Westerner, I could call it the end of the road. Whatever its name, the concept is still all about trade, history, and the history of trade. The picture here is a mosque in Xi'an. It's a physical manifestation of the ancient trade route from here to the Middle East and beyond.

Blog 9-23I've seen my share of places of worship of Moslems while working in the Middle East and travelling many places on the globe. I never, however, saw one that looked quite like this. It did have بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم written on the very front.

Travel is brain food. Although my blog entries seldom hint at it, I spend most every day away from home thinking about the world and how it works. That is exactly why we go places. I'd venture that the thoughts I experience when traveling actually make me a different person. That person is much broader and flexible, if not necessarily smarter.

Getting to Xi'an was a horrible experience. The train ride would have been awful enough due to the cramped conditions, lights, and cell phones ringing all night. Already enough time has passed that it'll become one of those 'remember-when' stories. The train was scheduled to arrive at 9:00 am but by the time we were standing in front of the station, the enormous clock had both hands on the twelve! Now if we ever have to wait in queue for anything I can just remark to Jay that the situation seems like getting from Beijing to Xi'an. Honestly, for all my complaining, it is part of the journey that I will never forget. If we'd paid five times more, we could have been resting soundly in sleeper cars. Yet, I suppose getting to meet real Chinese, like the kid who'd made the trip to Beijing expressly to see if he could get into university, was the stuff of real traveling. Personal opinion: If visitors only go places in a tour group, they might as well stay home and watch a travel video on their own living room television.

We are staying not far from the Chinese-Moslem area of Xian, near the historical center and within the walled old city. We ate dinner before finding the section but will make sure to try and have dinner there after getting back from seeing the Terracotta Warriors tomorrow.


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