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Published: August 22nd 2011
We were up and over to building 6 early to throw in some washing and speak with the main co-ordinator of the programme before our orientation. Her name is Yilera and she is incredibly tall for an Asian woman, she towers over me and has an air of authority about her and I was instantly worried that we would get nowhere negotiating our problems and issues with her. After a fruitless hour 'chat' with Yilera we hadn't resloved much at all, as there were 15 of us all trying to get our point across and it wasn't going to well. In the end we gave up and decided to talk to her individually at a later point. We had our orientaion and were given all the information we would need for our time in Xi'an and exactly what we would be doing for the next few days. We are volunteering here at two projects and we were briefed on what was expected of us as volunteers and all the rest of the houskeeping rules.
We were all pretty deflated after the unsuccessful morning and most people spent the afternoon relaxing and chilling out in the apartment. However, CJ spoke with Yilera in the afternoon and had more success than the rest of us and she negotiated our money back for the hostel on the first night in Beijing as well as allowing us to go to a show in Xi'an for free which would have originally cost 200yuan (about £20). Also, as the trip iternary had changed from the Yangzte river cruise to a trip down south to Gullin she also gave the group the option of going to either place. We had the whole evening to make the decision and the only condition was that those that went on the Yangzte trip we technically going off of the tour and travelling independantly for a few days.
The evening picked the day up quiet a bit, we went out to a famous hotpot restaurant, and unlike what we class as hotpots (I had Betty's hotpot from Corrie in my head) this was incredibly spicy and came boiling to the table. The table was very cool, it had hot plates underneath the tablecloth (I had no idea how the tablecloth didn't burn) but that kept the hotpot boiling. We soon realised the hotpot was just a bowl of hot spicy liquid but soon we were presented with plates of veg, beef, potato and noodles all uncooked and ready for us to dunk in our hotpot for cooking. The food was delicious and we all really enjoyed it and ate far too much! From the restaurant we rolled down the road, here in Xi'an we are staying in the more residential part of town however it is really cool and there seems to be a lot going on. It is also far more relaxed than other cities and the weather is a lot cooler, it is even predicted to rain later in the week. We stopped off on the way home at a foot massage place that was part of the trip and we were all treated to not only a foot massage but a hand, leg, shoulder and arm massage as well by these little Chinese ladies. It was actually quiet painful but in a good way, my lady clicked my bones in places I never knew I could click! We were massaged for about an hour and felt throughly relaxed afterward and we all got an early night ready for our tour of the city tomorrow.
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