The West Has Arrived - 134 kilometers YongChuang -- Sat, Jul 23, 2005 We woke in the morning and looked for breakfast -- but this morning was unlike the 20 before -- the smells were different, the food was nothing I've seen before, the people even looked different. Xi'an is the St. Louis of China -- the dividing line between the East and the West -- and the line is even more dramatic in China.
Instead of venturing into the plains of Kansas, we are surrounded by the approaching mountains of Gansu. Although I am starting to see mud houses... I think we had those in Kansas... Religious influence is seeping into our surroundings, primarily Muslim.
We had lunch at a Muslim restaurant. I met the owner and he initially really scared Wen Guang and I. His body gestures were stern and he was whispering to his friend. But he was one of the few vendors that actually didn't have a big knife so I was emboldened to talk some more. By the time we left we were arm over arm smiling for a photo -- scary body language or not.
I find that most Chinese people are very scared of the ethnic minorities. I have been warned countless times about how dangerous they are. They might have some basis for their belief but at the same time I think it is a bit prejudiced. Yes there are bad apples anywhere -- but to broadly classify a group of people (yes even Japanese people... a Chinese thing... will tell you later if you want) is just not smart (even if their body language is scary).
I feel a lot better now and was able to take the climbs at full speed later in the day.
It might take some guts -- but I think its worth it to take a little risk and say hi to that person you might not say hi to -- to break barriers you are afraid to break. Especially in this world were there are many forces pushing us to hide in our safe havens.