Leaving Beijing was quite an adventure. Adam and I first had to run across the street to where the taxi’s were all parked and tried to communicate with the driver that we needed to go to the West side train station. After we talked or attempted to talk to the fourth driver, we found someone who knew what we were saying, and doing all of this while trying to keep on schedule. One of the hardest parts of traveling is when you are in a hurry and the language barrier is holding you up. So frustrating! China has been harder than most places because not many people speak English. We made it safe and sound to our train station just as everyone was starting to board, so needless to say we were relieved. Once they let us into our gate is was like a free for all. Every single person, old, young, pregnant, man or woman everyone was pushing and shoving like it was the best sale ever on Black Friday. I had to bring back my old skills I learned from indoor soccer and body check a couple people. It was push or be pushed! I didn’t want to push complete strangers but no one really cared, they just pushed right back. Once we reached the train is was just as much a mess as getting through the gates. People standing, laying, and sitting anywhere. I looked at Adam with fear in my eyes, and said, “I don’t know if I can do this.” The train ride was supposed to last about 13 hours. We had assigned seats, but that really didn’t matter much because we were all sitting on top of each other. One thing I’m not sure if we mentioned in any China blog posts, but manners in China are slim to none. There is a lot of spitting and clearing mucus from throats, snot rockets, public urination, coughing (with no hands over their mouths), I could go on, but I think you get the point (hand sanitizer is a must!). There was a girl sitting across from me practically coughing in my face, but that was nothing compared to an old man who sat across from us. This guy’s life goal was to be as obnoxious as humanly possible. He talked AS LOUD AS HE COULD until around 2 am. Then, when we thought it couldn’t get any worse he started listening to music on his cell phone around 4 am. With no headphones. You had to be kidding me. Chinese cell phones have some sort of technology that makes them ridiculously loud, too. It wasn’t the best experience.
Once we arrived in Xi’an we were sore, tired and starving and the hostel we checked into was a blessing. It had great rooms and a fantastic restaurant, some of the best french toast we’ve ever had, and REAL coffee. After our amazing breakfast we retired for the day to our room and slept for about eight hours. After we were fully rested we headed out to the Muslim quarter of town and had a great time just looking at all the little shops and tasting little bits and pieces of the local food. It was such a neat part of town, I’m so glad we were able to explore.
The next morning Adam and I headed out to see the Terracotta Warriors which date back all the way to 210 BC. There are over 8,000 warriors, 130 chariots, 520 horses & 150 cavalry men all made from terracotta clay and no two are the same. When walking into the buildings it was quite amazing to actually see the actual scale of the collection. What is so great about this site is that it was only discovered in 1974 and they are still excavating. They say that the army was made to protect the Emperor Qin Shi Huang, the First Emperor of China. After a long day of walking around this UNESCO World Heritage Site we headed back to our cozy hostel.