Xi’an Again

Oh boy, I haven’t written anything in so long.
Guess it’s time to finally catch up to some of the stuff that’s been happening, let’s start with this one.

I went back to Xi’an around mid-October again, this time taking Tina with me, since she’d never been, and I’d like to take her on a trip somewhere. It’s kinda crazy how fast the relationship was progressing, and not to be all Mosby about it, but I had a feeling she’d be the one.

The only camera I took with me was a Canon EOS 650 with a 50mm f/1.8, loaded with a roll of Fujifilm C200 and I also brought along a roll of Portra 160. I didn’t want to lug around my big expensive camera on a trip that was supposed to focus on the trip itself. Although, part of me also wanted to experiment having my iPhone 11 Pro run point, as I’d been using it for a while and it seemed pretty capable, especially the night mode seemed very promising.

As always, flights with China Eastern was a bit of a nightmare, and we were heavily delayed in Shanghai waiting for transfers. When we’d gotten to the hotel, it was already very late, and we had to switch rooms due to some noise we’d hear in the first room.

We didn’t really do much sightseeing the second day, since we’d woken up pretty late and it was mostly just walking around the downtown area and checking out some of the shops. I’d messaged my elementary school buddies that I was back and we’d made some plans to grab some skewers just like old times.
It’d been a long time since I saw them last, and it’s honestly comforting to see they haven’t changed much, save for the gray hair and tiredness in their eyes (same as me), such is growing up I suppose.

We finally manage to get enough rest, and now we have a chance to go visit the Shaanxi History Museum, this turned out super interesting, I’d never really learned much Chinese history, and all of these old pieces were so delicate yet well preserved (which apparently, a lot of it came from this giant urn they unearthed not too long ago).
This part was when the nightmode and portrait mode on the iphone really started to hit its strides. The shots came out very detailed and well exposed. Slap on a bit of post production and these were perfect for smaller screens, because unfortunately the resolution isn’t quite there yet. This was also where some of the first shots I’d gotten with my EOS came out. and it looks really good. Portra 160 has to be my favorite film at this point.

As her first trip to Muslim Street, I think Tina was a little taken back by the crowd. It’s no surprise to Xi’an natives that it’s almost always crowded, and we tend to avoid it most chances we can, but it’s always filled with vendors who sell delicious ethic foods.
The center stage is taken by Pita soaked in Lamb Stew, a traditional classic: a fusion of Han Chinese cuisine and Xinjiang Muslim food. The traditional take is that you were supposed to break apart the baked pita bread yourself into little bits, and it goes back to the kitchen to get finished by the stew and dressings. We didn’t opt for that this time because I suck at it.

I really do think Xi’an is a city meant for the older crowd. I never appreciated the Forest of Stone Steeles when I was a kid, but coming back and visiting it was super interesting. I remember my grandma liked this place because the history it told. It’s effectively carved stones recording all the historically significant events that happened back in ancient China. People tend to forget that Xi’an was the Chinese capital for many dynasties, and that’s why there are so many historical artifacts here.
It’s almost funny, all this history around me growing up, and all I did was spend my free time in internet cafes, not that I regret it, lol.

The rest of the trip was uneventful, we visited Datang Everbright City, it was very bright (go figure) and full of street buskers. The trip up the Xi’an wall was fun if not tiring, and the rest of the city really hasn’t changed too much from when I last visited.

I’m hoping I’ll get a chance to visit again when Covid passes, this time I think I’ll bring my gear with me. There had been some moments I missed with the film camera and iPhone, and unexplored opportunities that I should be able to capture if I had my camera with me.

Until next time!