Xian Part I
Even when we reserved the train tickets before leaving Canada, the sleeper trains were full and we had to take a 'slower' G train. Slower just means more stops. The fastest ones can make it in about 4 hours. Ours took 5 but it was travelling at 300km/hr!
The train station was a bombardment of noise and busybodies (people who want something from the travellers). I ended up saying "不要" (I don't want it) to a guy who i realized later, was just curious and was being friendly in conversation. Ops. This assumptive culture is affecting me.
Our first night stay here ended up in a gloomy but cheap apartment 10 floors above a very glitzy though empty mall.
It was a great neighbourhood to walk around. Breakfast (in several courses!) was pretty awesome too.
30.9 - 3.10
The next 3 nights were spent in a lovely Airbnb apartment. How we got there was something out of a hollywood chase scene! The apartments were too far apart to walk, directions were lost in translation and so taxi was the way to go. As a family of 6, we needed 2 taxis but because only Alvin's phone worked (and that's where the directions were), we had to find a 2nd taxis that will follow the first. It took a while before we could find 2 taxis that were willing. But of course, there was still miscommunication and the first sped off with Alvin, Eli, Emma and the directions! Our taxi driver tried to catch up but all taxi tails look the same. Chang'an road is one of the main streets in Xian so it was packed with vehicles. Big city driving is crazy! He wove through people, motors, bikes, trucks, all in unpredictable speeds, mixed up lanes and roundabouts. We followed a car for some distance whose license plate we thought was it. We finally caught up enough to look through the window and it turned out to be the wrong one. Our hearts dropped. Our prayers intensified and we were nearing panic when we came upon the car next to us in traffic - and there they were - as surprised as we were! That was the most heart pumping car chase ever. Our superb taxi driver was so stone faced, he was hard to communicate with even when i tried to praise him for his agile driving skills. I think he grunted in response. But man, he didn't know - i so could've hugged and kissed him!
Wang Yen's Airbnb apartment was so comfy and spacious, we ended up just staying home. Finally, some sit down school work time, ping-pong and lots of down time. When we did venture out for food, we met Mr & Mrs. Li. Their restaurant was among a block of other shops. Mr. Li was as curious about us as we were about his open kitchen. He ended up becoming a good friend and we ate at his restaurant everyday for those 4 days. He introduced such yummy foods to us - all we had to do was show up, chat, and he'd bring us food to try!