Noilly Prattle: China 2017: 6 – Xi'an by night

Monday, May 1, 2017

China 2017: 6 – Xi'an by night

The Bell Tower on a gray afternoon
     Although we were a bit tired after walking for hours around the Terracotta Warriors site and the Hua Qing Palace, we rested for a while in the hotel and, just before dusk, went out for dinner and to see the center of Xi'an beautifully illuminated at night. As we subsequently discovered in many places, the Chinese have a propensity for decorating their buildings at night with light thus transforming the sometimes drab daytime scene into a wonderland by night.


a table with a view of the Bell Tower
     The main attractions in the center of the old town are the Bell Tower and the Drum Tower separated by a large park and shopping plaza. We had dinner at a popular dumpling restaurant on the plaza with a good view of the Bell Tower and got there around dusk, early enough to get a window seat. There is a set menu that consists of several courses of a variety of delicious dumpling samplings with all kinds of fillings. Some of the dumplings are shaped like the kind of meat they are made from—like a duck for instance. The last course was a kind of soupy fortune cookie served at the table by a waitress. There is a random number of tiny dumplings in the soup and your fortune depends on how many you get. Fortunately, there is nothing like: “You will be mugged in the next 48 hours”--only good fortunes of varying degrees. One of these is: “Well, at least to got to eat at our restaurant!” Just kidding.

just a few of the large selection of dumplings
fortune cookie soup

what else but a duck dumpling

Bell Tower illuminated - (not UFOs,
restaurant lights reflected in window)
       As we ate the sky grew darker, the restaurant filled up, the lights went on and we had a ringside seat for the show. The place was crowded by the time we left. If the illuminated Bell Tower was pretty from the window, the scene in the street was impressive. Not only are the old Bell Tower and the Drum Tower illuminated, but many of the surrounding buildings are outlined in light as well. Trees are decorated like Xmas trees and the whole scene turns into a fairyland of light, motion, smell and sound. People come out at night in large numbers milling and strolling about, the restaurants are packed and music is everywhere creating a kaleidoscopic impression of sight and sound and the appetizing smell of cooking from the restaurants.

the very busy dumpling restaurant 
       Makes me hungry just remembering . . . 


Bell Tower and lighted trees
department store probably

the Drum Tower
plaza and shopping mal

Bell Tower

shopping street below street level
Steve Jobs welcomes you to the Apple store

Flamenco wedding dress?

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