Print Story Now all I need is some stationery
By weihan (Sat Feb 18, 2006 at 06:29:26 PM EST) China, Xi'an, train travel, yinzhang (all tags)
I've returned from Xi'an. I officially hate China Rail... again.

But the real news is that I got a yinzhang! A yinzhang is one of those spiffy name stamps that you see on calligraphy works or letters or anything else that can use a spiffy looking signature. See it inside and take the related poll!

China Rail

So... I got to Xi'an on Thursday morning after a comfortable train ride from Beijing. I was greeted by about 10000 Chinese people. The train station was crammed to the gills. Apparently every student and worker in Shaanxi province was transiting Xi'an on the way to points east. And here I thought Spring Festival was over...

Long story short, I annoyed the meiyou-ing ticket agent long enough for her to sell me a standing ticket on a return train. I balked at paying 500 RMB for a soft sleeper at the time (that's twice as much as the hard sleeper).

I tell you what... Standing tickets totally suck balls. I'm weak. I couldn't do it. I got to the station early and ran like hell to get on the train ahead of all the other hopeful upgraders. After a couple hours of standing, losing my ticket, befriending a Chinese student who lent a hand, and finally re-buying and then upgrading my ticket, I was traveling in comfort. It only cost 150 RMB more than the price I initially balked at.

You live, you learn.


Xi'an was cool. I was only there for a day and a half but I made the most of it. On Thursday me and Wigman (my friend from Austin currently living in Xi'an) went to the drum and bell towers in the center of Xi'an, a mosque, and biked around the city wall. That night we went out for a crazy night of drinking with Wigman's crazy British coworker and several other foreigners (who's party we crashed at the start of the night). Wigman's coworker is hilarious. He's been in China for about a year and a half and speaks Chinese pretty well but with a thick London accent. Truly a sight to behold. He and Wigman get stupid drunk whenever they go out and that night was no different. We finished the night off by rolling into some unsuspecting restaurant at 2AM and terrorizing (I claim no part in this) the bewildered wait staff for the duration of a meal. They charged us 30 RMB for the teapot that the crazy limey broke upon entering the establishment.

On Friday I slept in till close to noon and then headed off to see the terracotta army. It was pretty cool and I got some OK pictures. I'd like to go back in the future to retake my pictures though because the restriction on flashes was playing havoc with my camera's smart anti-blurring kungfu. The bus back from the terracotta army dropped me at the train station about and hour and a half before my train left and that turned out to be just about sufficient. My last hour in Xi'an was spent hungry and standing in line. Woo.

On the whole: +1, would go again as long as it was at least a month away from any busy traveling season in China.

印章 (yinzhang)!

Wei4 Han2 in ancient script

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Now all I need is some stationery | 8 comments (8 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
yeah, those stamp thingies . . . by slozo (2.00 / 0) #1 Sat Feb 18, 2006 at 08:11:54 PM EST
. . . are pretty cool - gifted one to littletar (my sis) for her b-day, and of course now EVERYONE wants one . . . but easy enough to do, just costs a little money. I'll be getting one for myelf at some point.

That is some mighty old Qing Dynasty era writing, dude! YJ couldn't even really read it!

Xi'an by weihan (2.00 / 0) #5 Sun Feb 19, 2006 at 06:02:46 PM EST
Near the drum tower there is a giant touristy market. Only 35 RMB per chop. Can you get them cheaper in Wuxi?

An interesting note about the writing: most or all of the chops that the lady had on display used simplified characters. They were all transliterations of western names designed to appeal to tourists. I asked the lady if she had the old characters (I didn't know what they were called in Chinese. Turned out it was "old words") and she busted out a dictionary that mapped simplified characters to old characters. After that I was totally sold since I've been looking for this service for months now. Very was particularly unhappy when I told her about it though because she wanted to get me the same thing for a Valentines day present. She'd asked all her Chinese students where to get one and they didn't know of a place in Beijing.


[ Parent ]
Nice. by komet (2.00 / 0) #2 Sun Feb 19, 2006 at 12:19:09 AM EST
I have a stamp too, but it's in a modern, straight-line kind of writing - I like your style better.

As for tattooing it on your back: LAME: How would you feel if you gave a Chinese guy a western name (say, Timothy or Chris) and he tattooed it on his back in bold letters?

<ni> komet: You are functionally illiterate as regards trashy erotica.

My mom by blixco (2.00 / 0) #3 Sun Feb 19, 2006 at 06:30:46 AM EST
used to paint chinese watercolor.  Her chop looked remarkably like that.....but then again, they all have a lot in common.
I am ten ninjas. Ten ninjas with root access. - mrgoat
Really? by weihan (2.00 / 0) #4 Sun Feb 19, 2006 at 05:52:40 PM EST
Does her name sound like WHAY-hawn(?) ?

It's funny how you say they all have a lot in common. I can still vaguely remember how all Chinese characters used to look the same to me. In the same way that Chinese used to all sound the same to me. Now it's quite the opposite.


[ Parent ]
Well, by blixco (2.00 / 0) #6 Mon Feb 20, 2006 at 03:44:12 AM EST
there always seems to be some figure standing next to a river and some indication of flow.  Her name doesn't sound like anything in Chinese, but in Norwegian her last name means "south river people."  So the chop literally interprets to that.

I don't think Chinese characters look the same, and that's the confounding part: I've never seen two that look alike!
I am ten ninjas. Ten ninjas with root access. - mrgoat

[ Parent ]
Something like this? by weihan (4.00 / 1) #7 Mon Feb 20, 2006 at 05:24:23 AM EST
南河人 ? (the 氵in the second character would look like a river, no idea about the rest of the character. The last character would look more like a man)

Finding two characters that look alike isn't too common in my experience, thankfully. It's usually pretty distressing when it happens though. Here are some examples: 我 找, 时 的, 折 拆.


[ Parent ]
Unfortunately by blixco (2.00 / 0) #8 Mon Feb 20, 2006 at 06:08:08 AM EST
all I see is ? and not characters....
I am ten ninjas. Ten ninjas with root access. - mrgoat
[ Parent ]
Now all I need is some stationery | 8 comments (8 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback