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Opera masks on zebra crossings E-mail
City Life - Report
Written by ND
In Furongyuan (that's in the south east, where the Tang Dynasty Park is located as well), pedestrian zebra crossing are painted (since July) with Qinling opera masks Guangzhong shadow puppets.

2 zebra crossings were "enhanced" so far that way and 7 more will follow as said by an official.

The makers believe that it is an innovative way of introducing chinese culture while the practical sense of this measure is disputed by residents and not always meet their acceptance. We have asked a couple of residents about their opinion:

Mr. Li Wu who lives in the Furongyuan area said: "Traffic signs and markings such as zebra crossings should not be the target of decorations of any kind! They have an important and vital role for the safety of the traffic in the city. What comes next? Advertising on STOP signs?"

Positively surprised was Mrs. Zhang: "It looks pretty and it is a beautiful idea!"

Hans Beer (汉斯啤酒) E-mail
City Life - Report
Written by Peter
I thought what a wonderful idea for an article, then that of the Xi’an famous, Hans Gampi (Beer).  What a wonderful world we live in here in Xi'an, with having such a good local beer as that of Hans.

This beer is brewed in neighbouring town Baoji, and is a favourite drop of the expat community, myself included. Now I do call myself a beer connoisseur (coming from Australia), and I have tasted many beers from around the world; I must say that this beer is quite the extraordinary.  

In Australia, the beer is served standard in a 330ml bottle, and the larger sized “tallie” (700ml bottle) is something of rarity to purchase. So to a foreigner, this idea of beer being drunk out of a bottle larger then my fist, is somewhat alien.  But nevertheless, it is easily functional with a small cup on the side for the necessary “gambei”.  

Xi'an Cinemas E-mail
City Life - Report
Written by Peter
Now not being an avid cinema goer, I have not experienced one outside of my own hometown in Australia; in my mind going to the cinema is a last ditch idea for something to do to help keep the mindless silence between boyfriend and girlfriend interesting.  However, with Transformers 2 - Revenge of the Fallen, hitting the big screen this was something not to be missed.  I have been an avid Transformers fan since its birth back in the mid 80s, so the experience of seeing some of my favourite Autobots ala' Pimp My Ride, brings moisture to my mouth.  

My thoughts of what to expect from a Chinese cinema were somewhat high.  Fellow expats and Chinese friends had painted a picture in my head to expect nothing less than a wall-to-wall auditory and visual extravaganza.

Ok, step 1, find a cinema showing Transformers 2 in English. This was easy, 1 km up the road, and the movie would be starting at a healthy time of 6:30pm.

Qinling Safari Park in Xi'an E-mail
City Life - Report
Written by Noruma Mueller
When I hear the word safari I think of people inside of a jeep somewhere in Africa. And of course those people are carrying binoculars in order to be able to see the animals which are some kilometre away. Because you can not come very close to the animals, can you?

Well two weeks ago I went to Qinling, the Wild Animal Park of Xi’an. I must confess that I had never heard of it before and so I thought I was going to the zoo. Georg told my that it is like a safari and I thought he surely must be joking! Because we have the Xi’an card, we paid only half price. The woman in the ticket office explained me that there are tree kinds of vehicles to go around the park. The big bus is mianfeide (for free). The xiaoche and another kind of vehicle which were not mianfeide...

I was kind of surprised to see people queuing to enter the big park buses. Not because of the queue but because it was a really big bus. Like the buses you use to travel from one city to another. Not the small little buses you see in the museums.
Running in Xi'an E-mail
City Life - Report
Written by ND
The pollution in Xi'an is not better or worse than in other chinese cities. Nevertheless, running in Xi'an is quite different from other cities I have been.

There might be pleasant parks in Xi'an if you manage to go far away from the city centre. Country side like areas are practically not very far away and if you can manage to go out that far, you might enjoy better air and not very crowded running places. Nevertheless, within the city area there are only 3 choices available that are near to the centre: 1. Directly beside the street (*cough* *cough*), 2. On the city wall, 3. In the small green areas beside the city wall. Running beside the streets can cause - if you are not a heavy smoker - hallucinations and heavy psychic damages. Ok, I exaggerate now; but just a little...;-).

8000 warriors defend their emperor E-mail
City Life - Report
Written by Harry Shattuck
It must have seemed a routine day for the seven farmers digging a water well on the plains of north central China. But suddenly, a clunk. A life-size pottery sculpture of a human head appeared. Another heave of the shovel. And more of the torso. Imagine the shock: According to published reports, one farmer said they thought it was a temple statue — perhaps a Buddha — and feared the Buddha would punish them.

Their 1974 discovery precipitated arguably the most significant archaeological excavation of the past century — the unearthing, which continues today, of about 8,000 clay warriors, more than 750 clay horses, almost 150 wood chariots, thousands of weapons and other objects designed more than two millennia ago to protect notorious Chinese emperor Qin Shi Huang in his afterlife.

In Xi’an, a large city 18 miles to the west, the initially unimpressed cultural relics bureau reportedly paid the farmers 30 yuan (about $4.30 today) when they presented their findings. But word soon spread within China and beyond. Now, a fascinating display of “Qin’s Army” encompasses more than 170,000 square feet and attracts 4 million visitors every year.
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