Big Goose Pagoda is just a backdrop for the sexy dancing seniors of Xi’an

When HOB and I got on a bus in Xi’an we were unclear about when we should get off.  “Just look for a big pagoda” I said—this seemed logical since we were on our way to see something called the Big Goose Pagoda.


And that turned out to be a good idea—-we saw this out our window and jumped off the bus.

The Big Goose Pagoda really is striking.  It was built in 652 during the Tang Dynasty which I guess was a time when they made pagodas square instead of round.

Not going to lie, though—HOB and I didn’t pay much attention to the Pagoda. We had intended to but when we started walking towards it we entered a plaza filled with seniors dancing underneath blossoming trees.

Middle-aged and elderly folks, elegantly dressed and coiffed, twirled in time to piped in music.  Women and men danced together, women danced in couples, and some people unselfconsciously danced alone.

Many of the dancers were quite skilled.  If you watch the clip above you can see the dancers smartly flip their hands up when they extend out into a twirl.

Just to the side of the dancers lots of other people were exercising.  There is a game we saw a lot of people playing that’s similar to hackey sack (but without the hippies) which involves several people keeping a stuffed birdie in the air.  The Chinese hackey sack players were often elderly, but also shockingly flexible—nimbly kicking the birdie behind their back like teenagers.


This woman—let’s call her HOB’s girlfriend—was quite the athletic exhibitionist.  Her warm-up routine involved much bending over and wiggling while sliding a cord under her feet.  (The bending over was of particular interest to HOB who suddenly developed an appreciation for the benefits of stretching).

In every city we visited in China we saw older folks working out and dancing in public.  Sometimes it would be just one lady grooving to a boom box in the park or it could be a dozen seniors line dancing.  I kept thinking “Damn these people are hot!”

I don’t want to live in China, but the country’s approach to aging made me jealous.  It was so refreshing to be in a place where age doesn’t make people invisible, especially women.  It seems like American women in their later years have just a few models to choose from; they can be either Grandma, Earth Mother, Cougar, or whatever it is you call a lady with blown out hair who wears pashminas and constantly drinks diet coke.


In addition to being limber, China’s older citizens are well dressed, a compliment that cannot be extended to many of the younger set.  This young man, who was watching the dancing action in front of the Pagoda, was wearing a jacket that read “Design Clothes For Jesus – Fucked”.


After tearing ourselves away from the delightful dancing at Wild Goose Pagoda, we found a street vendor and I bought a roasted sweet potato snack.  You know what?  I’m never going to be these things; a Cougar, a Granny, an Earth Goddess or a Diet-Coke-and-Pashmina-Lady.  But Woman-Who-Eats-Street-Food?  That I can represent.


How we got to Xi’an: train from Pingyao.
Where we slept: Xing Long No.37 Hostel. Price: €16 for a double. Recommended: yes.



  1. I am from Xi’an.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re lucky Yan–it is a beautiful city with great culture. Do you still live there?


      1. I am currently living at US.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Nemorino · · Reply

    Nice to see these older folks keeping limber.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I found it particularly soothing to watch the older folks practicing Tai Chi and Qigong.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. We saw lots dancing on the cruise ship, just enjoying themselves, at anytime of the day….. I wish we did it here in the UK 🙂 Great looking pagoda.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Did you do lots of dancing on the cruise ship? If so, please post video. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ha ha, no I just watched, all my dancing is done behind closed doors 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. This outdoor dancing is way better than having everybody shut up inside a smelly gym—and it is probably free? I am envious.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yes, it certainly is free. I avoid smelly gyms too—-luckily we live a 5 minute walk from the beach and that’s a great place to walk.


  5. We loved the outdoor dancing parties. A couple of times we got invited to join in, and did. Great fun.

    The pagoda had an interesting carving of scholars sitting and translating books on tables full of food. As soon as we got out of the pagoda I went and ate at the street food stalls next to it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. People pay me not to dance in public, but still, it does sound terrifically fun to join in.

      I know about the interesting history of the Sturas that were store in the pagoda but we missed out on that carving you mention. We also saw marionette puppet shows by the food stalls.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Don’t remember puppets, but we saw some actors in costumes; a story about the monkey king.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Thanks for this delightful jaunt! I cracked up more than once and love the clips!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! There’s been a lot of cruelty in the news lately and we all need a bit of a distraction, don’t we?

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Dancing queens!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Is this type of dancing known as swing dancing? I once went to The Green Mill—an elegant old-timey bar in Chicago—and people were dancing this way and it was charming,

      How is Leo feeling?

      Liked by 1 person

  8. A further check up showed no further deterioration…but now the wretched blood pressure has morphed into dropping like a stone, so back to the hospital for more observation and tests.
    I think he would prefer a bit of swing dancing to that…
    Thank you for asking.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I am looking forward to this aspect of life during a stay in Seoul next year also.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I haven’t visited Seoul yet but I hope they dance in the parks there too. Will you join in?


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