Friday, July 17, 2015

One Last Look at our Neighborhood in Xian

For 2012-13 & 2013-14 school years, Paul and I lived on the campus of a university in the middle of Xian - NPU or more formally, Northwestern Polytechnical University. While I am missing so much of what we observed and lived with (much has already been posted in earlier posts), well, other stuff, not so much.  These photos include much of the everyday life that we encountered as we walked the neighborhood and interacted with many of our neighbors.They are from our last few days in Xian.

Life would not be the same if we did not walk through the markets near us. Everything in the food markets were portable, as you can see from the picture below, and was usually gone by noon or earlier.

Eggs were sold in amazing quantities. Although they were sold be weight, i still stuck to the American method and bought a dozen at a time. That was so meager compared to the quantity bought by the regulars.  Besides never being refrigerated the Chinese were fans of an almost unlimited selection of different kinds of eggs. Sizes, shapes and colors made our selection at home seem so limited.  One type touted the fact that they were many, many years old - and I believed it!

Meat was a constant at all markets. Never kept cold and displayed on a variety of surfaces that always gave me pause, but never convinced me to buy. Hmmm.. along with the chickens what could be the little animal on the same tray?

Along with the meat were all kinds of fruits veggies, fish and other goods and services.

These two on bikes are waiting to rent themselves out to replace the screen in your windows. We hired them and all the screens in our apartment got replaced for just pennies.

Snacks were available everywhere and cooked to order.

We have been known to buy breakfast here. It was located just beneath our window and did a booming business in egg roll-ups every morning..

As we have mentioned, we lived next to a grade school. Here are a couple of pictures of the parents waiting for their children to come out for the day. Older grade schoolers went until about 6pm and younger ones were let out anytime between 3 and 4:30.  VERY long days. and that does not include the after hours tutoring.

A trip to the Textile Market

One of the fun and different trips we have done is to our local textile market. These are fairly common but that does not make the trip dull by any stretch of the imagination!  We began to go just for something to do and then I ended up getting some very nice clothing made.  The following are some of the sights we saw while visiting.

The variety of fabric is unbelieveable! There are cottons, silks, and heavy drapery fabrics in solids, prints. I know there are also blends I did not recognize. I really wanted to buy some of every thing! Most of the shops were no bigger than a small bedroom and often much narrower.

They were stocked to the brim and manned by several clerks who were either asleep:

Or animated and so willing to help. The language barrier sometimes made the details hard to pin down but they did their best to make a sale.

Often the stores had a "theme" either of color or subject (like cartoon characters). The one below really liked the color pink.

We discovered that it is possible to get clothing made using just what you have on.  I wore this purple shirt to the market and had several silk-like shirts made from the measurements they took while I had it on. The sewing was of excellent quality and I love the blouses I had made.

Besides having tons of fabric you could even get items sewn right on the spot. There were isles and isles of semstresses who would make thing while you waited. These people (men and women) were mostly making bedding and maybe curtains out of the most fun cotton prints I had ever seen.

Occasionally things got slow and then a nap was in order.