Published: May 13th 2012May 12th 2012
Spent some time at a huiling for disabled teens - and they had a session on calligraphy skills for us
Our first train trip was better than anticipated.The worst part was waiting at the station with a million people or thereabouts until our train boarding was called, then lots of lines and lots of walking to get onto the train. We had been allocated various compartments, sharing with the locals, but our leader, Tao, reorganised it so that Roman and I were in with 4 of our group - Mai, Rebecca and Jethro ( aussies) and Mark, the youngest at 22 ( Brit). Roman and I are the oldest in our group of 9 - then we have Elaine who is nearly 60 travelling with her daughter, Sarah ( Canadians from Edmonton), and finally we have LIzzy who is dutch. A very disparate group but we get on very well.
The hard sleeper has 3 tiers, so the younger members took the upper bunks. The journey was quite uneventful, though the squat toilets have little to recommend them! The usual water urns at the end of each train carriage means that you can get boiling water to add to your noodles etc. Before arriving at Xi'an we passed through many mountain tunnels - at least 50 or more.... some long
and some shorter..Xi'an station was easier to negotiate than Beijing, and we arrived at our hotel, Guan Zhong fairly quickly.The hotel is in a central location which made it is easy to walk most everywhere.
OUr guide, Tao is only 24 and he now has an official girlfriend, Canny who we all met two nights ago at one of our dinners. The food has been huge - with banquets of noodles one night and dumplings last night.
Our trip to the Terracotta Warriors yesterday was terrific - it had rained overnight and was still sprinking on the way, so it made everything look fresh. The site was huge and very interesting, and our local guide Michelle looked after us to make sure we didn't get lost...
Roman has the flu - or the chinese version with a head cold cattarrh and cough to boot, while I am still recovering from my flu - with back pains, and searing throat and lungs to start, and now turned into a nasty cough. We're both survivnig, though Roman is singing his usual refrain ( Never again!!!).
Today, before boarding our train at 1.20 pm bound for Chengdu. This morning
lots of throwing to get it into the right shape
we took a lovely long bike ride on the wall of Xi'an - about 14 km I think, and the innards are paved with bricks - ancient I think as we bumped our way around, come people came away with sore bottoms!!
There are more photos below