Sunday, October 3, 2010

Remnants of the silk road.

Xi'an rests at starting point for the northern stretch of the silk road. Thanks to that, it has long had a rich influence from the cultures and peoples from the other pieces of the long fabled trade route. There is a wonderful Muslim district in the heart of the city where there is a vast mosque. I found it most fascinating for its architecture which was decidedly Chinese, but every once in a while you'd be reminded where you were with either arabic lettering written on a sign, or you'd pass by a caretaker wearing Muslim garb.

After the mosque, we wondered the streets and alleyways. The sights, sounds, and smells were all very different from what we had seen in China at that point. Things seemed a little more put together. Lots of orderly stalls, and the smells were from great flat breads being baked in clay ovens and roasting lamb.

Even the markets were catering to a different crowd. There were head-scarves being sold with the clothing, and the spices and vegetables were all just a little more Central Asian. It was a really funny thing to cross one street, and immediately be greeted with the modern Han Xi'an world. The Muslim district really was a tiny little self contained world tucked away. It was a great place to explore, and the memory of our little taste of that area lingered pleasantly for quite some time.

Later in that afternoon our friend Tom got a call from another Tom. This new Tom, Tom Honeycutt was another ex-pat working in education and taking some time off to travel around China as well as make a trip back to the US to see if he could still manage his way around the States after having spent so much time in China.

That evening provided some great opportunity to get to know each other and have some great food while sharing some beers. One fantastic small world moment was at the end of the night while we were sharing traveling tales, Tom Honeycutt asked what I did for a living and I mentioned that I made video games. He then followed up by asking if I made things like that game Chocolatier from PlayFirst. After I picked up my jaw from the dirty floor, I replied that not only was it like Chocolatier, I had worked on that game. He then asked if I knew a guy named Jack Murphy, and I do! In fact, he and I have worked at the last two companies together. I sit just a few desks away from him. Well, it turns out, Tom Honeycutt and Jack go back a long long way and have been great friends since first grade. So out of the billions and billions of folks I could have run into and made friends with in China, it happened to be with a childhood friend of a colleague and buddy. Definitely a small world moment, and I can't tell you how much fun it was to come back and watch the reaction on Jack's face as I relayed the news of our run-in. :)

1 comment:

Claudia said...

Thanks Kerry & Isaac for sharing all of your adventures. Your travels are truly inspiring to me and I love reading about them.

Love the photography as well!