Random Assortment of Links

Useful resources for learning about contemporary China:

 English language Sinica Podcast

James Fallows - not always China-related, but always interesting

What's going on in Beijing:

TimeOut Beijing

The Beijinger

China Daily's Beijing Weekend 

Beijing Weather - Weather Underground


Useful language learning tools

Chinesepod podcast - free beginners' podcasts

Popup Chinese podcast - another very good podcast series

Hacking Chinese - interesting ideas on learning Chinese efficiently

Skritter character-learning tool for iPad/iPhone - really fun app

Sinosplice - John Pasden's site on many interesting aspects of China and the Chinese language



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The Great Mosque of Xi'an

The Great Mosque of Xi'an is the largest and one of the most important Islamic places of worship in China. The four main courtyards are opened to visitors, however the main prayer room is closed off. Miracously though, the natives were very kind to me. I myself wear Hijab, so maybe that was what caught their attention first. We began talking and granted that it was near prayer time, I wanted to pray in the mosque. I was unsure how to communicate this effictively considering the language barrier, but somehow the natives got my message. A woman and her son took me into their hut and allowed me to do "wadu," which is the traditional wash Muslims do before prayers. Afterwards, they spoke with the gate keeper who allowed me in to pray. I normally pray in a very beautiful mosque in my hometown, but this mosque was a whole new form of beautiful. It was basically made of wood and it looked very ancient. It was peaceful and simple, and although it was merely some wooden posts covered with prayer rugs, somehow it had this native beauty to it. I am so blessed that they allowed me to pray in their mosque, as even a simple google search will prove that close to no foreigners have entered into the prayer room. It was an amazing feeling and I was so excited. I am also glad I got to take a picture to share with you all!

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