Sunday, Saturday March 28th
Today I'm posting for yesterday because at the end of the day we were all exhausted by the days travels and exerts.
The day started off bright and early, with a 6:30am breakfast. Despite several delays we eventually got off to the trainstation where we said goodbye to our new friends James and Linda. All 20 of us boarded the rapid-transit train in 2 minutes while battling for spaces with another (Russian) tourgroup. However, once on board the trip went smoothly, giving us a nice opportunity to view the country side which has been somewhat degraded by agriculture and mining.
Then, we met our new guide, April, who is perhaps one of the most adorable people on Earth. We checked into our hotel whose entrance was in an alley, ate lunch, and got ready to tour.
Our first stop was the city wall. It is huge, and much more massive than what we saw of the great wall. We rented bikes to ride around the wall. We had some first time bike riders who faced the challenge admirably! It was a really cool experience and I learned to ride my bike without holding the handlebars! Although, I need to say this to please the parents, every single one of us wore helmets.
After that we went to the city wall, which wa pretty cool. We walked through some sub-surface walkways with a bunch of interesting ads. The Bell Tower is the center of the city of Xi'an, so on each of the four sides (North, East, South, West) we could see the central streets extend for what seemed like forever. On our way back to our bus we had our first encounter with pick pocketing (RIP Caitlyn's Camera).
Then, we went to a restaurant where we learned how to make dumplings. We sported some very sylish aprons and hats reminiscent of the french style. Those dumplings are hard to make and I've earned hightened respect for everyone who can make a non-deformed dumpling. After cooking, we had a meal which consisted of . . . dumplings! There were at least 10 courses of dumplings which included Shark fin, fesh-water turtle, pickles and many many more.
After dinner we went to get massages at a local palce. The environment was very strange, people were continuously talking, the lights were on and we were in a room with three other people (our friends). Although, I did leave the massage feeling quite refreshed.
Finally, we went back to the hotel and hit the hay. It was a long day (when are they not?), and I slept very, very well.