Zia Jian Bejing! Ni Hao Xi'An!
Yeah Man, we're really getting into the language here... that's our entire vocab!!! Oh, and Xie Xie - which is thank you (pronounced in Australian as "She Sh!t"!!!)
Somehow we reached our gate at the Train Station, to catch our train from Bejing to Xi'An. Holy cow - there was the entire population of Adelaide in there!!! We were some kind of sideshow at the Train Station with every pair of Chinese eyes watching our every move! NO ONE spoke english there, so we managed to stop 5 different people, at various points, to point us in the right direction of our gate! We managed to make out our carriage no. & bed no.s on our ALL chinese ticket, too! We were very relieved to plonk ourselves down into our little cabin (2 bunk beds and a little table.) We were very fortunate to have and english speaking Chinese couple, who'd lived in Canada for a little while, in the next cabin - they offered to help us get out of the station in Xi'An and get us a taxi. We didn't sleep very well on the train - I was paranoid we'd miss the station in Xi'An! And the "beds" were pretty much a plank of wood with a few pieces of material on it... hard doesn't seem to really describe it! BUT don't get me wrong - I'm not complaining - just describing... it was an amazing experience, and we're so glad we did it. We arrived in Xi'An at 650am. Our hotel there was pretty ordinary. What a snob I am!!! Oh! I forgot to mention, that as we emerged with the huge crowd out of the train station, a man came up to us, and said in perfect english "You want a taxi?" We spoke very good english, and offered to come back later to take us for a short tour of the city. Our Hotel looked out to the "City Wall" - which was just amazing. Its higher than the "Great Wall" and wider too - about 20m high x 7-8m wide (my rough estimation) - with a moat around it too! The taxi man came back after we'd had a shower and took us to Maccas (we were starving!) then took us to BanPur Village (not sure of spelling) - it's the site of a village estimated to have been inhabitated 6,000 years ago! We even saw dead people (their bones, anyway!) H-man was all a bit scared - he's watched too many cartoons where skeletons come alive, and was worried, they'd come get him!!! Next we went to a Pottery place where they make replica "Terra-cotta warriors"... naturally we were persuaded to buy a set at a ridiculous price!!! They are so persuasive!!! Weather is great too. Around 30 degrees.
The following day, I'd booked a tour to see the Terra-cotta Warriors. ABSOLUTELY.AMAZING. It is all you'd expect and more. And you'd be proud - at this momument, I kept my dinner down!!! It is so incredible to be standing there, looking at these figures, that were hand-sculptured so many years ago. I wondered what the people were thinking when they were creating these masterpieces. We also went to the City Wall, where Mr T and the kids rode bikes around it (in the 30 degree heat!). I rested in the "shadow" (otherwise known as the shade, at home!!!) The next day, we went to the airport to fly to Shenzhen... here's where we hit our first snag.
My online booking (and PAYMENT) for our flights... didn't seem to go through - and the "wonderful" (*note: huge dose of sarcasm here*) neglected to let us know. THANK THE LORD, we were there very early, and decided to check with the ticketing counter, whether we needed a physical ticket. No one spoke english, so the girls hunted down someone who could - and she let us know we had no booking. The girls behind the counter rang the "booking agent" and then handed the phone to me. The girl, in very broken english, explained that they could not book the ticket. "I've paid!" I said. She said they refunded the money. I was NOT happy. Thankfully, we were informed we could book a ticket. 4140 yuan (about $600)... CASH. We kept telling them we only had credit... no... cash only. What the?!!! Steam was now coming out of my ears. We were pointed in the direction of a cash machine. We could only take 2500 yuan max out of one card - again, THANK THE LORD we brought 2 cards with us!!! We finally got the cash, and our tickets. *breathe in - breathe out.... it'll all be ok*
We arrived in Shenzhen to a FANTASTIC hotel "Best Western Felicity Hotel". Stunningly luxurious for our tiny $70 something dollars per night!!! We are on the 23rd floor!!! Yikes!!!! AND it has a glass lift, so you can enjoy all 23 floors... I haven't enjoyed it yet, my sweaty hands are clinging to the hand rail, and I've got my eyes squeezed shut) I love Shenzhen! I forgot to say - Xi'An has amazing history, but also has amazing pollution. Really gross. Shenzhen, is lovely! Hardly any pollution.
We met one of our suppliers (for our business back home) today. I asked if the huge building across the road was for shopping, she said no. But when we went over there it is! Instead she took us to the "shopping mall"... Louis Vuitton, Choppin, Porsche, Gucci and all the other hideously expensive shops are!!!! I want the "knock-offs" - not the real thing!!! Think I'll be walking across the road tomorrow, for my knock-off!!!
We are all doing great. Other than, we all have a cold (Mr T had one, then we all shared the train cabin... also shared the bugs!) - we haven't been sick (other than my chuck on the Great Wall... but I don't count that - that was me... not the food!) Our little wheelie bags have been marvellous - and I'm planning on how we can squeeze our stuff and baby's stuff into 2 little baggies for the next trip! We've met 2 families visiting here, from our own city, in Australia - which is AMAZING! And another Perth family were with us on a tour. On of the families from Adelaide were travelling with their 2 kiddies, adopted from Korea. They'd spent a week and half in Korea and one week in China, and were just one their way home. It was so good to speak to people from home!
I'm sorry to bore you with our sightseeing...but it's SO cool! We're having a great time - although exhausting. It certainly a trip that we will never forget.
PS I haven't been able to actually "view" my blog, so thank you, if your commenting, I can't wait to read them when we get home!