We woke up at 7:20 this morning in our soft hotel beds. Slightly tired from staying up late watching a Chinese movie, my roommate Hadrien and I quickly got ready and walked downstairs to breakfast. After eating a hearty buffet breakfast, we checked out of our rooms and hopped on the bus and drove to the old city wall, which is 9.5 miles long and surrounds part of the city. Once we had arrived at the wall, we rented bikes and started our ride on the wall. From atop of the towering wall, we could see much of the city of Xi’an. The wall was covered in potholes thus the bike ride was very exciting as we weaved in between holes. I raced Dan and Hadrien but had to suddenly stop due to a throng of people blocking the way. Somehow without slowing down, Hadrien sped through a small gap between two people while I had to stop. Panting after the race, we continued our bike ride in the hot sun with sweat pouring out of us. Most of the group rode pretty close together except for Thomas who sped along the wall at an incredible pace on his bike. I somehow went the whole ride without even seeing him in the distance. Some of us struggled a little more than him yet everyone who started the ride finished it even though it was extremely hot and very few of us were real bikers. Very sweaty and tired we hopped back onto the bus and drove to lunch. Lunch was a classic Chinese meal with a circular spinning table covered in various dishes of meat and vegetables. Although the food was great, several people at my table including me did not eat much because of stomach issues. After lunch, we went to the silk factory which was filled with carpets. Our guide gave us a quick info session on weaving carpets and showed us the complex machines used to do it. One carpet which was only about a fifth done had taken the weaver 10 months to make, our guide told us. After the info session, we walked around and perused the expensive carpets. Concluding that everything was out of my price range, I prepared myself for Muslim Street, a popular market in Xi’an. Once more getting onto the bus, we headed to the market. After splitting up into groups, we walked through the markets buying presents for people at home and enjoying practicing our bargaining skills. I didn’t buy much except for a pack of cards, but other people in our group bought fake Beats (headphones) that turned out to be pretty good. After eating a lot of ice cream at Haagen-Daaz, my mini-group met up with the rest of our expedition and headed for the crowded train station. We are now preparing for bed on the train as we look forward to seeing the Little Flower kids in Beijing and getting back to our home away from home. Here is a haiku I composed using the deep philosophical being contained within me. Take note that the first and last lines have to be five syllables and the middle line must be 7, thus making haikus almost impossible to compose. Here is the butterfly of my creation:
We are on a train There is an annoying fly I want to squish it.