Strangely my drop down list has the title, thinking that it has been used before. But it does not exist in my blog.
On my first trip to Xian several quite strange and unusual things happened.
- At the train station a man came up to me. He was a taxi driver. He wanted me to stay at a particular hotel. He was determined to do so. Verily so and so much more so than I have ever encountered before that I took special notice of it. When I told him where I was to stay, he said that I should not do so as the showers did not work. (Well this much turned out to be correct. The showers were cold and had to held by candle light. I stayed somewhere to the north west of the city wall.)
- At the place where I was staying, this American man was sharing my dormitory room with two girls from Sweden. He said that he had been intending to stay at the hotel where I was offered by the taxi driver but had changed his mind. He seemed out of place in the low end accommodation that I was using.
- While I was walking the streets of Xian with this man a day or two later, he was talking about having blue balls. Later he told the girls from Sweden that I was safe.
- At the market in front of the grand mosque (大清真寺), I wanted to buy a green hat. The man at the stall asked if I was a Muslim. I said no. He said that only Muslims were allowed to wear hats like that. I thought he was being very narrow minded.
- As mentioned to me before I caught the train to Beijing, a woman came up and asked if I wanted to swap beds. I agreed and travelled with some other western people in another compartment.
I learned quite a lot from this man. He was living in Taiwan and his Chinese was very good. Back in 1999 it was still only a month after the nato (to the Chinese American) bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade. While I was always asked if I was an American (你是美國嗎) and was glad that I could say no, he would say yes. I was somewhat aghast. But there ensured a discussion on several occasions. My Chinese is not great, but I was impressed with how well the Chinese understood the one-sided view they are given by their media and the American man would always win the argument by pointing out that every day the (the chinese) threatened to blow up TaiPei and that he lived there. My respect grew enormously.
“Courtyard at the Great Mosque, Xi’an, China” by molas [?]