Sunday, September 28, 2008

Xining at first glance

This week is China's national holiday, so basically the entire country is on vacation. I arrived yesterday in Xining, in Western China to visit a friend from high school, Matt. He is here for a year or two teaching English at a University in the city.

Xining is on the edge of the Tibetan plateau, and there are a lot of minority people: Tibetans, Hui muslims, Uighur. It has a very different feel than Beijing. It's not nearly as new and shiny, though there are a lot of new skyscrapers going up.

Today, we walked around town, stopping at a market (I love markets) to peer at the foodstuffs in the windows. We ate some la mian, or pulled noodles, at a muslim noodle place called "Kin9 of Beef Noodles" Yes there is a nine in the name. You put in your order and then watch as the cook pulls a piece of dough over and over again to make delicious noodles.

We also went to a place called Beishan (North Mountain Temple) and walked around some Daoist temple places, some of which were built right into the cliffside. There were very few foreigners, and we chatted with some Tibetan monks from the temple on the next mountain for a while.

We had Sichuan hot pot (boiling broth that you add raw meats, veggies, tofu, and mushrooms to) last night with some other teachers here, and tonight we had Qinghai style food with cold mutton, fried potatoes, sour veggies and noodles, and these delicious barley cakes. Tomorrow we are going to Tibetan food with some of Matt's Tibetan students, who sound pretty cool. It's a good thing he likes food just as much as I do.

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