Traveling in China: Exploring Bookstores, Braving the Traffic in Xian

Yesterday, we had some time on our own and I had spotted a book store two blocks away so off three of us went for an adventure. Our guide was fairly leery about our going alone. Finding the store was not the problem. It was getting there across the Chinese intersections that worried her.

Traffic in Xian rev.

The lights, though  modernized to the point that they include the hand icon and the number of seconds a pedestrian has to cross a street, are, as Hue explained, only ‘suggestions;’ there is no guarantee the cars will stop. Nor is it just cars and busses. You have to be on the lookout for scooters, occasional motorcycles, bicycles (both pedaling and electric), and rickshaws. (I was nearly run over by a bicycle one evening when I crossed a street without checking.)

But we did make it and found the bookstore easily. To our surprise, once we were inside, it looked very much like a Barnes and Noble. Very large and categorized much as ours are. Books in English are on the third floor we learned so we took the escalator up. We found a table of books to teach Chinese children English. A rack held a large number of condensed classics in paperback, including Robinhood, Alice in Wonderland, Little Women and Huckleberry Finn.Bookstore I discovered a book to teach English children Chinese that had a CD in it and bought it for my grandchildren. I will be interested in what is on the CD.

Glenda picked up one of the paperback classics and we headed down to the first floor to pay just as if we had been at Borders. Then back to the hotel. Having braved the traffic previously, we approached the experience with bravado, even pausing in the middle of an intersection to video the variety of vehicles approaching us.

Filed under: China, Travel

Tags: Bookstores, Traffic

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    Carolyn Boiarsky

    " I am an American," but not "Chicago born" like Augie March. Only Chicago aged. I'd like to think that if Henry Louis Gates were to investigate my geneology, he would discover in my past three women who traveled around the globe, chronicling their adventures. Sarah Kemble Knight traveled 112 miles by carriage from Boston to New York in 1704, a journey most women did not embark on alone (and men did so only with some trepidation). In fact, women were only just beginning to exercise their independence in the 1920's when Emily Kimbrough took off with her friend, Cornelia Otis Skinner, to explore Europe. But it is Auntie Mame, transforming herself from a New Yorker to the wife of an Austrian Baron and climbing the Matterhorn, whose mantra I have adopted. "LIFE IS A BANQUET...LIVE!" I began travelling in the 1960's when I traveled around western Europe between graduating from the Univiersity of Pennsylvania and my first job as a statehouse correspondent for UPI (United Press International) in Charleston, West Virginia, which was about as foreign a place as Europe was to someone who grew up in the environs of Philadelphia. Since then, I've also traveled to Kaunas, Lithuania, to teach at Vytautus Magnus University and to Sheffield, England, to present a paper at an engineering conference. I've been to the Alps and seen Auntie Mame's Matterhorn while climbing, by a series of cable cars rather than by foot, toward the peak of Mont Blanc. For 10 years my husband and traveled to unique places: a sheep farm during lambing season in England's Lake Country, a hotel on one of the Barromeo Islands in the middle of Lake Maggiore in Northern Italy, and a cottage in Dun Quin on the Dingle Peninsula which the Irish claim is the last parish before Boston. Between excursions, I'm a professor in the Department of English at Purdue University Calumet in Hammond, Indiana,. My husband passed away recently and, Auntie Mame-style, I am in the process of transforming myself. I've joined a tour to Central Asia and traveled to China to work with the pandas. This year I'm on my way back to Europe--Inreland, England, and France--to present a paper at a Conference and then visit friends. A new adventure. Old friends. Another banquet.

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