a weekend in xi'an
Possibly only the 3rd weekend in Xi'an since i moved here in August -I am quite proud of that actually! The reason is that it is still pretty cold, so no point traveling and I decided to clean my apartment for the first time properly, since i moved in (I have only spent about 14 nights here in 2 months) in preparation for the arrival of a flat mate soon.
I also played football at one of the local universities with a bunch of Uighurs (from Xinjiang, in north-west China) which meant i could not understand a word (their language is more like Turkish than Chinese) -but they were pretty good and it was fun. So now i have played football 4 times since the summer -hopefully i can play more often in xi'an if i am ever 'stuck' here again at a weekend. It feels good to run around lots :)
Xinjiang is a place i want to go to more than Tibet. It has been in and out of Chinese rule for 2 millennium and always 'fighting' the invaders, including nowadays. Though there is much less resistance since a) punishment is severe, b) the economic growth and c) more than half the people there are not Uighurs at all. Some argue the Chinese were forcefully moving people there to make it more Han (and certainly none of the government jobs there go to the locals) but the several Han people I have met from Xinjiang all fled there during the famine of the 1960s, since XinJiang is vast and mostly empty full of good-ish land. I suppose it still happens a lot nowadays in Africa -entire families are forced to abandon their homes and flee to somewhere else because of a simple lack of food!
The last 2 weeks were ok, since the Chunjie trip. Despite having to adjust to the cold weather (although over zero), the early starts (still waking up at 6.30 for Chinese lessons) and spending my days in an office work has been ok, I have been back to Beijing (in time for the end of Chinese New Year, which is another occasion for World War to break out) and I only fell asleep in the office for a few minutes on International Women's Day. Not a political statement, on my behalf, just the office was so quiet and dull with all the women getting a half day extra holiday!
I wonder what all our women did on that half day -probably just get extra time to clean the house or prepare dinner, which is kind of ironic isn't it? I also wonder why most countries barely give a damn about such a day. Well, there were some interesting (depressing) statistics in the UK papers, so maybe people do notice. Unfortunately it seems that most people use the occasion to 'thank women for all the hard work they do', rather than actually try to fight to increase the rights and position that women are in. Much easier to thank someone than try to help them :-)