We arrived in Xi'an in the pouring rain. Our guide had not organised any transport from the station so we had to negotiate two tiny minivans to take us to the hotel.
The door on my van would not close, and we set off with me holding it closed until, we finally figured out that the bags had pushed the seat sideways and then using brute force we got it closed.
On arrival at the hotel, I simply opened my door - which was in an annex separate from the main building, slung my bag down and went straight into the shower.
I emerged soaking wet, and naked and realised that my room backed onto a school playground and ran for the curtains. Now in darkness I could hear the kids marching up and down and chanting almost military sounding songs.
We all then met for a walk around the city despite the pouring rain. We walked to the Bell tower and then the Drum tower before visiting the grand mosque.
the mosques gardens were a complete contrast to the noise and grime of the city, but were once again ruined by the speakers of Chinese tour guides balaring at unnecessary volumes as they shouted to thier guests.
We left the mosque and walked through more of the market until I left the group to go and meet Karen.
After a little confusion, we finally met up and i got to see my first familar face since leaving home.
We popped into a nearby cafe for a drink and a catch up; chatting about how I found china so far and what I had seen of Xi’an. It was very sureal to be having the kind of conversation that we’d usually have in a Guernsey pub in the middle of China.
After our drinks we headed back into the market where Karen negotiated the purchase of a chess set that I wanted. I thought that I was OK at haggling, but Karen was feisty and the woman that sold it didnt look altogether happy about the deal. ButKarensaid she wouldn’t have sold it unless she was happy with the price, and that she wasn’t feisty at all shes just a good negotiator. She mustbe, because i decided not to argue.
Karen them took me on a walk through the muslim district, which was much more lke the chinese towns I had expected to see. We bought mooncakes at a street stall and ate them as we walked.
Therain became heavier and so we stopped at another cafe for a little rest and rehydration before continuing through the artists district and heading to a restaurant.
We ate ataplace called “First noodle under the sun” and the food was excellent. I had thick chille covered noodles and we shared a mushroom dish.
After eating westopped off at my hotel and looked through my photos so far before calling it a night.
It was fantastic to see Karen and amazing to see her interacting with the people of Xi’an. She just seems to fit in really well and it was nice to see the streets that I would not likely have gone down without her.