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The Muslim Quarter in Xi’an, China

On Saturday morning we said goodbye to Jia and Beijing and headed to Xi’an. Packing, the taxi to the airport, check-in and security were all uneventful, as was the 2 hour flight. I’ve had a few folks ask about where we stayed, as well as more specific travel questions about transportation and the like. I was thinking I would write more about all that in a final post to wrap up our Chinese adventure.

星期六早上,我们和Jia道别,离开北京前往西安。整理好行李,便乘着出租车去机场,然后验票并领取登机卡,两小时的航程中一切都非常顺利。很多人问过我当时在哪里住宿,以及更多的关于交通运输的具体问题,以及类似的。我正在考虑以后在完结篇中写更多这方面的经验,为我们的中国之旅画上一个完美句号。

I recommend the Airport Bus 1, which leaves every 20 minutes between 6 and 6. A ticket costs ¥25 and it takes about one hour to get to the city. 

我推荐机场1号巴士,据传是每20分钟一趟,从早上六点到下午六点。 25元一张票,一个小时就能到市区。

On the number one bus there are no stops en-route to the terminus in front of the Melody Hotel, which is conveniently located at the beginning of West Street near the Bell Tower. As long as there is an arriving flight, there will be a bus, so you needn’t worry about arriving late at night or early in the morning. I think usually the airport bus is the best choice to get to the city, UNLESS you have a of of luggage. Of course WE had a lot of luggage and camera gear and I didn’t want to lug it all from The Bell Tower to our hostel, so we had the folks at The China Guide set us up with a driver. It was definitely not the cheapest way to go, but certainly it saved some brain cells. I think if you are young and on a tight budget, the bus is still the best alternative.

一号巴士不会在中途停车,而是直接去终点站,Melody 酒店的前坪。它位于西街的入口处,离钟楼不是很远。 只要有航班抵达,那里就会有巴士接应,所以你不需要担心因为在深夜到达或者在清晨到达而没有车坐。我认为,大体上机场巴士是去市区最好的选择,除非你有非常多的行李。当然我们有很多行李和摄影设备,并且我并不想从钟楼那个地方再把行李拖到我住的酒店去,所以我们联系了“中国指南”的人,让他们给我们派了一辆车。这完全不是最便宜的方式,但是它省了很多事。我觉得,如果你年轻并且预算吃紧的话,机场巴士绝对是最佳的选择。

I didn’t write about our hostel in Beijing (Leo Hostel), mostly because I was underwhelmed. It wasn’t terrible, but I’m fairly confident you can find better accommodations at a comparable price. We had a four-bed dorm room with toilet en suite. My biggest complaints? The “hot” water took forever, at least 15 minutes, and even then only got to a temperature I’ll generously call lukewarm. In Beijing, in December, you’ll want hot water. To add the the frustration, there was a nice little sign above our western toilet, pleading with guests not to put the toilet paper into the toilet, asking us instead to put the used paper into the trash bin beside the toilet.

我并没有介绍我在北京住的酒店(Leo 酒店),最主要的原因是它给我留下的印象非常一般。虽然它并不差,但是我敢打包票,你能够用相同的价格找到更好的住处。我们住着带着独立卫生间的四人间。我最不爽的是啥?这所谓的全天候“热水”供应,不仅要预先放15分钟的水,更坑的是,之后的水温我也只能称之为“不凉”。在北京,12月,你想要的是实实在在的热水。令人更加感到沮丧的是,在我们西式厕所上面,有一个细致的小记号,呼吁顾客不要把厕纸扔进马桶,而是把用过的厕纸扔进旁边敞开的垃圾桶。

Yes, I have traveled the world and have seen this before, but I was hoping for something better in a city that just hosted the Olympics. The beds were also Chinese-hard, which can be tough for older folks. In fairness, I should say that Natty, Nick and Jia seemed to take it all much more in-stride than I did. On the plus side, the staff was friendly and helpful and the location near Tiananmen and The Forbidden city can’t be beat. Like I said, it wasn’t terrible. I chose to stay in hostels in Beijing and Xi’an to save some cash, ensuring the kids could get some stuff to take home for family and friends. Despite hours of on-line research and reading what may seem to be every review available, I’ve found that staying at a hostel can be a bit of a crap shoot.

是的,我游历了很多国家,之前也见到过这个情况,但是我希望一个刚刚举办过奥运会的城市能做得更好一些。床铺也是中国的风格——硬,这对老人们来说可能有些难以接受。平心而论,我应该说Natty, Nick 和Jia看起来比我更加从容。 给旅馆加分的地方是,服务人员非常友好、乐于助人并且旅馆就在天安门和故宫附近,这个地理优势是无可挑剔的。就像我说过的,它并不差。我选择住在北京和西安的旅馆里是为了节省一些现金,保证孩子们能买一些纪念的东西带回家给亲戚朋友。

西安的穆斯林聚居区 房间.jpg

西安的穆斯林聚居区 公共区域.jpg

Conversely, our hostel in Xi’an, Xiang Zimen Youth Hostel, was much nicer. There was an endless supply of hot water with a worry-free flushable toilet.It was clean, with soft beds and hardwood floors and dare I say, ambiance, perhaps the rarest of Chinese commodities. The price was about $33US a night for the three of us, yep $11 bucks a piece. A couple of caveats, if you are allergic to cats, Xiang Zimen probably isn’t the place for you, as there were at least 10 of them running around. Also, while both hostels had free wireless internet connections, the connections were not accessible from our rooms, only from the lobby and other common areas such as bars or restaurants, not so bad, just don’t expect to be surfing from your bed. Below is our room just before they rolled the third bed in and below that, the common area just outside our room.

与北京完全不同的是,我们在西安住的旅馆——湘子门国际青年旅舍,要好得多。这里无限量提供热水,有无需担心堵塞的冲水马桶。旅舍非常干净,有软软的床铺和实木地板,并且我敢说这里的气氛可能是中国商务酒店里罕有的。价格大约是33美刀一晚,我们三人住,也就是每人11刀。在这里,我有两个忠告,如果你对猫毛过敏,湘子门旅舍可能不适合你,因为这里至少有10只猫到处溜达。另一个是,尽管我提到的两个旅馆都有无线网络,但是在我们的房间内却不能上网,只有在休息大厅或者类似的区域,例如酒吧和餐厅。不是太坏,只是别指望能躺在床上上网罢了。下图是我们的房间,这是在他们把第三张放进来之前的样子,下面是公共区域,就在我们房间外面。

I had scheduled our third day to be a fairly easy one. I wanted to give the kids a bit of a break after their trans-Pacific flight and the two packed days in Beijing. We took a mid-morning flight, arrived in Xi’an about 12:30 in the afternoon and were settled into the hostel by 2:00. After a bit of a rest, we took a leisurely walk out in search of The Great Mosque, supposedly located somewhere in The Muslim Quarter. We never found the mosque, but did spend a couple of hours exploring the Muslim Quarter on a spectacular, unseasonably warm afternoon featuring clear, deep blue skies. Everywhere we went we came across people preparing food for the evening dinner crowd. Here’s a bit of what we saw…

我把在中国第三天的的旅行计划订的非常宽松。我想让孩子们休息一下,他们乘着飞机穿过太平洋来到这里,并且紧接着在北京度过了两天。我们搭乘的是上午的航班,大约在12:30到达西安,到达旅舍已经是2:00了。休息了一会儿,我们开始悠闲地寻找大清真寺,据称其坐落于穆斯林聚居区附近某处。我们没有发现清真寺,但是花了数小时探索穆斯林聚居区。那里丰富多样,让人惊艳。午后有着与当前季节格格不入的温暖,有着深蓝色的天空。我们所经之处,人们都在为周围的人准备晚餐。下面这些是我们所见到的一小部分。

We eventually managed to work our way back toward out hostel and after an early dinner everybody got caught up with email, the kids called their mother, and I think we were all asleep before 10. Next up, Day IV – The Terra-Cotta Warriors, which I think may have been my favorite “touristy” thing we did during the time the kids were here.

我们最终顺利沿着来时的路回到了旅舍,晚餐过后每个人都在忙着发电子邮件,孩子们在给妈妈打电话。我想,我们都在10点前睡着了。接下来,第四天—参观兵马俑,我自认为这是孩子们来到这里的这些天我最喜欢的观光胜地。

On a sad side note, our little dog has been very sick for a few weeks now. For some reason no one here can seem to figure out, Chewy is riddled with bladder and kidney stones. She’s peeing a lot of blood and is becoming weaker every day. There is no “real” veterinarian here and nothing that’s been done so far has had a positive effect. If we were back home I’m pretty sure she would have been on the road to recovery by now, but here in Liuzhou, none of the idiots posing as vets have been confident in either a diagnosis nor a treatment. 

写一点悲伤的事,我们的小狗病得很重,这种状况已经持续几周了。由于某种原因,这里没有人能解决这个问题。Chewy有严重的膀胱结石和肾结石。她尿血,并且日渐虚弱。那里没有技术过硬的兽医,并且到目前为止,那些对Chewy的治疗没有产生任何积极的效果。如果我们回家,我能确信它现在将开始康复了,但是柳州这里,那些自称兽医的傻瓜们没有哪个有信心诊断或者治疗Chewy。

西安的穆斯林聚居区 Chewy.jpg

In fact, each place we take her, we get a bit of a different story. It’s tough to see her slipping away and be in so much pain and to be able to do little about it. I am waiting on a reply from a vet back in the states to see if there is something I can do myself. In the meantime,  we’ll appreciate any prayers and positive vibes for one of the absolute sweetest dogs ever.

事实上,我们带它去的每个地方,都有一段不同的故事。看到她独自睡在另一处并且忍受痛苦,而我却无能为力,这对我来说真是痛苦。我正在等候美国国内一个兽医的回复,看看我是否能够做点什么。与此同时,我们也在此感谢那些曾经为这只最可爱的狗狗祈祷过以及营造积极氛围的朋友。

2016-06-23

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