We arrived in Xi'an this morning at about 9:00AM. We left Tianjin yesterday at about the same time. It was pretty sad leaving Elizabeth and Kevin and the kids. Our time in Tianjin was so wonderful and we really didn't want it to end. Joseph, being one of the most caring kids on Earth, was devastated by the whole affair. I kept telling him we'd probably see him in a year or two, but he wouldn't accept it. The girls and Izaak seemed to be okay with it. I don't think Izaak really clued in though because he kept pulling me away from the door to play wheels. Elizabeth packed us a whole duffle bag full of delicious breads, fruits and other assorted snacks, which was thoroughly enjoyed on the train. The train was an experience... Sitting crammed in for 22 hours just doesn't really work for us Canadians. We are used to having personal space and one just doesn't have any in China.
Our nationality became a point of discussion for what seemed like the entire carriage that night. Everywhere around us we could hear: "Blah blah blah Chanada! Ooo eee! Chanada! Chanada? Blah blah Chanada blah blah." It was pretty funny and I could still hear people mentioning us even at 4:00 AM. The fact that I was awake then was not so humourous though...We didn't get much sleep on account of the uncomfortable nature of the train as well as a certain loud-talker in the next row.
Xi'an is, from what we can gather, the epicentre of Spring Festival. The train station was packed and the ticket booth line-ups were probably four hours long, so we didn't bother. We opted for a sleeper bus to Chengdu, the bus station being much less crowded. Still, the concept of the queue does not exist here, as you may well know. Everyone just pushes in a huge mass and screams at those at the front to hurry up. The street life is marvellous and we walked around taking photos for a long while. I sat down next to some old ladies and asked if I could take their picture. They consented and after I had taken a couple shots, I showed them how digital cameras worked. They were enthralled. It was just shortly before this that I was called over by a friendly-looking woman, who then asked if I wanted a "massage." I know very well that these massages are of the extremely comprehensive variety, so I quickly said "no" and walked away. Laughing, she then grabbed my shirt and pulled me towards her! I pulled away and part of my shirt ripped. She was really apologetic but I still walked away very quickly. So now I have to find someone to mend my shirt...
Tomorrow we will be renting some bikes and riding around the city walls of Xi'an. Afterwards, we will probably take the bus out to the Terracotta Warriors.
Hope to hear from you all,