OK, I'm going to talk about the food again. Fred took us for lunch to a restaurant he knows well, which features "country tastes" which I guess is local, unpretentious food. We had a very good meal. Standout dishes include the sweet-and-sour something (pork, I guess) and the sweet potatoes. No, not "sweet potatoes" - sweet potatoes as in candied or glazed spuds! Sounds strange, but it was very tasty.
But the centerpiece, and the restaurant's specialty, was noodles. Northern China's cuisine is much more noodle-based than the Cantonese rice-centered cooking we are most familiar with in the USA, and Xian is big wheat noodles country. We had wide flat noodles and slender round noodles, in soup and on plates, and the fun part was getting to see them made:
The chef took his noodle dough and rolled it on the metal table. Then he started winging it around the air up over his head:
He stretched, twisted and stretched the dough again
whanged it on the table, floured it, stretched and twisted some more, whirled it over his head again,
and in the end, the noodles magically separated themselves into strands and voila! there they are! No idea how.
Naturally the restaurant also possessed a gift shop, but now that I've found most of my gifts I didn't really care. I am still seeking some reasonably-priced fans (of which there were none here; there was a little silk one they were asking $5 for and they wouldn't come down) but that's all.