“We feel the weight of Chinese eyes as we stroll—from men, women, young, old; from commuters on rusty bicycles and dented scooters; from street chefs sizzling vegetables on sidewalk woks. We are rock stars or extraterrestrials, I’m never sure which.”

My friend Tom and I never saw other Americans or Europeans as we wandered Xi’an by foot on our trip through Global Volunteers. We were such rarities that locals would snap photos of us with their phones and even ask us to pose, particularly blonde-haired Tom. The sidewalks were packed with commuters, the streets with buses and trucks and cars, which is why we so enjoyed the serene gardens of the Dayan Ta (seen above), known in English as the Great Goose Pagoda, built in 625 A.D. to house Buddhist scriptures.

Photo Gallery

These China photos show the La La Shou special needs school and our travels through Xi’an. The night shots are from Xi’an’s ancient city wall, which was built in 1370, and the last two pics are from Xing Qing Park. Thanks to my friend Tom, who took these photos.