An Oasis in Xian, China

Photo of bridge in Xian Park

China can be a hectic place, especially when you are with a tour group. However, one of the nice things about our tour group, Gate 1, is that they break things up so that you have some downtime and some time to experience the local culture.

After the long flight, we hit the ground running and on the first few days we saw and experienced quite a lot, and this was only the beginning of the tour. And then they took us to this magical park in the heart of Xian.

When we arrived at the Xian Park early in the morning we could see in the mist a classic Chinese bridge spanning a serene lake. And all about the lake, there were locals engaged in their morning activity, mostly all involved in some sort of exercise, whether it be yoga, taichi, dancing, badminton, or various forms of muscle building.

The locals had no problem with us getting involved in their daily routines and many in our group took advantage to get some exercise and to interact with the locals.

The park is also a permanent location for a carnival of sorts. Locals meet here daily and actually encourage tourists to engage in their dancing and fanfare.

As the dancers paraded around, a Chinese band banged out a rhythmic beat that lively participants hopped, skipped and wiggled to.

Above, a Chinese form of a Taiko drum banged loudly in time to a Chinese song that struck a steady, throbbing cord which pulsated among the dancers, who were both locals and tourists. Cymbals clanked loudly and clinked sharply in harmonious accompaniment.

Above and below, as a drummer, I am drawn to any percussion instrument and this was no exception. The Taiko drummer invited me to accompany the band and it was a thrill of a lifetime!

My wife Nida got caught up in the fanfare of the fan dance! We even got to keep the fans!

Don’t ask! I have no idea about this person but we sure enjoyed the entertainment.

Above and below, at first I was a bit intimidated when I saw these strongmen tossing around their iron chains as if they were made of feathers. But they soon asked us to join in on their strange bodybuilding exercise.

Above and below, even top spinning is used as a form of exercise here in the Xian park.

Above and below, whether it be a slow tango or simply a place to rest and meditate, this park is the center of Xian’s social network.

Several generations of this family meet at this park regularly to spend time together and to enjoy each others company.

It is easy to get caught up in the friendly atmosphere of Xian’s park. Everywhere that you walk, you are greeted with a warm, smiling face. In this park, it seems that worldly problems and politics are set aside and humans can simply interact with other humans happily as one.

Above and below, an artist paints a portrait of one of our tour members as an art critic looks on.

Nothing is as precious as that special bond between children and their grandparents. As I photographed this warm, loving family, I fought back tears thinking about my own grandparents and that special relationship I had with them.

As with any group tour, you meet some of the nicest people who share your love of life and traveling.

As we journeyed through the seemingly endless park I began to understand the dynamics. It was more than people being with other people, it was an opportunity to interact with others, and to get some exercise in the process. But more importantly, it was an opportunity to meditate about life and what is really important about that precious gift.

I took away a lot from this simple trip to this special park. The main thing that I took away was that simplicity may be the key to happiness, and perhaps even longevity. I also took away a better understanding of human nature and the human spirit. It occurs to me that people are people no matter where they live, what religion they worship, or what political views they hold. We all want the same thing: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Even more so, we want to enjoy our family and provide for them, and we want to get along with our fellow man.

Just in case!

The park in Xian is an amazing place, it is well maintained, has plenty of restrooms and is kept spotless.

Above, my wife and I get a photo-op with the two high spirited ladies who seemed to run the conga line that snaked along the park plaza.

And as the morning drew to a close and we began our walk back to the bus where it would take us to another adventure in China, I reflected on what a wonderful, spirited time we had had in this obscure serene park in Xian. Was this place on my bucket list? Of course not. In fact, I had never even heard of this wonderful park until today, but I am glad that I had this opportunity. If you have the opportunity to visit this magical place, take advantage of that opportunity, you will really enjoy your visit. And you will add a magical drop in the bucket!

 

All photographs are the copyright of Jim Jackson Photography. Please contact me for authorization to use any photos or for hand-signed, high-resolution copies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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