Dispatches: Muslim Street

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It’s not every day you get to lead off a post with a freshly carved lamb (I think.)

After our Day 1 of work in Xi’an, Gary S. Chapman and I decided to hit the town. Sort of.

For us, that means putting on our walking shoes and doing some urban exploration.

Xi’an is a good-size city, but with a lot of country tendencies. It is the capital of Shaanxi Province in central China. Interestingly, it was once known as Chang’an (Eternal Peace), it marks the Silk Road’s eastern end and was home to the Zhou, Qin, Han and Tang dynasties’ ruling houses.

There isn’t a lot of English spoken, so it’s a bit of a challenge to communicate. But nothing a smile and good nature can’t overcome.

By the time we got back from the shoot, backed up our files and got out the door, it was early evening (though it felt later) and dark. That made for some interesting sites and cool night photography.

We had inquired with my colleagues and the hotel staff where we should head, and we were told Muslim Street. According to our GPS, it was a a straight shot, couple miles away from our hotel. So we bundled up and set off.

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Even before we got to Muslim Street, we found some interesting photo opportunities. Gary got a cool shot of an older man  walking down the street with four de-shelled turtles (for soup, we presumed) hanging from a string; I had the ISO on my Canon 70D set too low and whiffed badly on that interesting shot.

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Gary shooting some video of a street vendor.

We knew Muslim Street itself would be bustling, even on a Monday, but some of the side streets we meandered up were interesting with people and food stalls as well.

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We knew we were getting close when we got to Xi’an’s Bell Tower. It was built in 1384 during the early Ming Dynasty, and is a symbol of the city of Xi’an.

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Walking up Feng Hao East Road is an interesting intersection of the old world and the new world. From seeing a structure like this from the Ming Dynasty…to seeing modern stores and hotels across the street, it’s incredible.

We also had a chance to see the Drum Tower as well. Also erected during the Ming Dynasty, the Drum Tower got its name from the huge drum located within the building. In contrast to the Bell Tower, where bell was stricken at dawn, drum was beat at sunset to indicate the end of the day.

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Eventually, we made it to Muslim Street (though, frankly, it seemed longer than just two miles away.) But we were rewarded. The sites, sounds, colors and smells were incredible.

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The food is the star  on Muslim Street…grilled, smoked, salty, sweet. If you’re a vegetarian, you may not find it to your liking. But if you like noodles, grilled meat, and sweets, this is the spot.

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Eventually our hunger got the best of us. It was early in our travels to try some hardcore street food, so we picked a restaurant and sat down. Luckily, the menu had pictures so we pointed and  picked.

And, we picked correctly! A tasty noodle dinner for our first night.

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After the meal, our bellies full, we were tired and ready to head back to the hotel. We walked back through Muslim Street and decided to hail a cab back to the hotel.

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Day one in Xi’an was in the books. More to come…

(c) Mark Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | 2016

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6 thoughts on “Dispatches: Muslim Street

      • Hi Mark, at that time many were still wearing Mao tunics, and the main attractions were the Wild Goose Pagoda, and the Terra Cotta Warriors. We were on a closely organised tour to visit the three cities, Beijing, Xian and Shanghai. Most local transport was by put puts or bicycle with very few cars. It was fascinating.

      • Ah, I see. Yes, in that way, I guess it has changed. Still many motorized bicycles around, but not many put puts. We didn’t have enough time to see the terra cotta warrior museum. I work for Janssen Pharmaceutical; it was our founder, Dr. Paul Janssen, that work with the Chinese government to help save the warriors from being destroyed (and lost) by fungus. I bought three small replicas for my kids 🙂

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