Entering via ipad over unstable connection. So brief, and typos.

Assumed China still censored / prevented access to Nexus. But it does not prevent access here.

The flight is long for me. I fatigue easily. But enjoying this trip.

Staying with in-laws. What sweet welcoming people.

Beijing air is acrid smoky thick. At least, wS yesterday.

Changchun is old big industrial city in Northeast. As different from, say, Hongkong as Detroit or Cleveland woul be from Miami.

People here have strong Manchurian or Mongolian roots. Tall robust ruddy complexion. Plain spoken, earthy sense of humor. No attitude.

Staying with in laws who live here. Thats why we are here. What sweet down to earth people. So welcoming.

Food here is comfort food. Nothing like Chinese food in US. Wheat based filled dumplings, pot stickers, heavy noodles, sauerkraut. Filling and full of flavor.

Changchung is smoky dusty smoggy. I think here its dust blown in from the Gobi desert. All of the street flowers and trees are covered with desert dust.

Folks get a kick out of my efforts at Mandarin via phrase generator app on iphone. The do understand my attempts, whic is funny. Because knowvIm bad at it.

All for now. More later. Going with the flow, real break from normal life. Not a vacation paradise. But I think Im liking it far mor than I would, say, Acapulco. I know I am.

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Comment by Joan Denoo on October 21, 2013 at 11:28am
Daniel, wonderful report and photos! That food looks delicious and so prettily presented.
It might be presumptuous of me, but have you thought of using a wheelchair at the sites? Craig took me to the Denver arboretum, and we used one. It greatly increased my pleasures.
Happy, healthy travels!
Comment by Daniel W on October 21, 2013 at 8:25am
Added some photos from today, on my Profile page. Discovered ipad works for that so gave it a try.
Comment by Daniel W on October 21, 2013 at 7:18am
Today we went to some ancient places in Xi'an. Tang dynasty towers, Bell tower, where gigantic bells coud be heard for miles, Drum Tower, where the drums are taller than me. The Wild Goose Tower, a pagota where Buddhist books and icons were kept. The Goose tower is 1300 years old.

I overloaded my Energy circuitbreaker and napped all afternoon. Overdid it at the goose tower. We took subway getting there. Supermodern and clean.

Reading a book about the first Emperor, the interregional wars takeovers palace backstabbing manipulation and politics, the concubine politics.... I understanding my workplace much better now. For the first time in my life,

Tonight we ate local off-street place which was great. I had a dish of stir fried eggs with pale chives and garlic, and a dish of finely sliced potatoes, stir fried with hot peppers and garlic. The stir fry is on a superhut wok which makes the food tender crispy and seals in flavors. There is a dish of raw garlic cloves on the table to chew on. But I didnt.

It might be the part of town but I think Xi'an has a lot more hustle and bustle compared to Changchun. more traffic. Scooters driving on the sidewalk. At night with no headlamps. Lots of them. And bicicycles. And cars.

It helps a lot being married to a native speaker who is familiar with the local culture. I highly recommend that to anyone who wants to visit here.
Comment by Joan Denoo on October 20, 2013 at 6:31pm
Wonderful travelogue! I am amazed you have as much energy as you do. Yes, I understand the "switch" that turns off. I called out for Cary to come to the garden one day to pick me up where I slumped. There just was no energy available.
The sound of Middle East/Chinese food tickles my taste buds. Have you added some spices to your grocery shopping list?
Take good care Daniel.
Comment by Daniel W on October 20, 2013 at 3:56pm
Joan I love that story!

There are stil lots of dirt floor hovels in the countryside. The cities have had phenomenal growth. Highrises newly built or under construction especially in suburbs. The economy is booming. Much due to infusion of American money via Wallmart and Apple etc.

Yes the air isp very dirty. I am still having a wonderful time.

My energy is there for a while although I have to remind my partner, frequently, to slow down. Also its like a switch - Im good fo a while then boom - I bottom out. sleeping 10 or 12 hours a day. that still leaves a lot of time to explore experience see hear smell and taste.

Last night went to the muslim district. Amazing confluence of cultures. China but the foods and spices wafting in the air were definitely Middle east influenced. Still A vibrant heritage of silk road, centuries and lots of history later. food mainly cooked and served in the street. Motorcycles and bicycles mixed with crowds on foot.

We went to the mosque but not inside. Outside it looks traditional Chinese. Photos on return.

Ning said there was a Buddhist temple nearby but I wore out so we returned to hotel.
Comment by Idaho Spud on October 20, 2013 at 11:16am

Yes, don't breath the air!  If I ever visit China, I'll remember to bring my SCUBA tank.

Comment by Randall Smith on October 20, 2013 at 8:17am
Wonderful to read about "life in China" and your experiences. Continue. Hope you get your energy back. One more thing: don't breathe the air!!
Comment by Joan Denoo on October 20, 2013 at 3:04am

Daniel, Xi'an ... I remember it very well and the friendly people there. I was there in early 1980s  just after China was opened to the western world, 1978, and people followed me wherever I went. They were not used to foreigners. I sat on the stone steps at the place where Chang Kai Shek  was held. A very tiny Chinese women and about four year old boy sat next to me. The little boy was very curious and looked closely; he reached in his lunch bucket and handed me a hard boiled egg. Such a sweet little fellow and the woman was all smiles. I wondered if I deprived him of his egg, but we had no common language, so I peeled the egg, cut it in half and we shared it together. 

You must be very weary Daniel. I know how grueling it is to travel and see sights. I'll be thinking of you and Ning. I hope the living conditions improved for his family. Homes and lifestyles were pretty meager when I was there. I visited a lot of dirt floor homes. 

Comment by Daniel W on October 20, 2013 at 2:38am
Yesterday we left Changchun. That was the family visit. So welcoming and warm. This has been my favorite trip by far, to China.

The next few days are more in tourist mode. now we are in Xi'an. Pronounce "She Ahn". this is the first imperial capital of A united China, over 2000 years old. We went to the emperor's tomb - the terra cotta army. its so interesting for me.

Xi'an is mush further aouth than Changchun. Warmer. Still a layer of powerdered desert dirt on everything.

the. oodles here are wide flat noodls. More of a spicy base. Still lots of food smells on the street. Stands with jujubes, persimmons, pomegranites, oranges. Those are dusty too.

Xi'an has a big muslim quarter. We are going to that tonight.

ALso visited hhe place where Chang Kai Shek eas held captive. Very interesting.

I tire badly but there is plenty of time to rest. Would not miss this experimce,
Comment by Daniel W on October 17, 2013 at 9:53pm
Thsnk you Joan. I hope you are doing a bit better....!

I plan to upload a few photos on return. Pictures say more than words.

I wanted to show Ning's grandnephews the cat's cradle I learned when I was little. Probably haven't done that in 40 years. Memory is an amazing thing - got it first try. Older sister saw me - she learned same thing in a Chinese village 60 years ago. Such a small world.


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