This series is meant to highlight my first encounter with China. I studied abroad through the CET’s China Studies and Internship in Shanghai program from February-June 2014. This was my first trip out of the country and only my third trip out of the state of Texas.
As you can tell I have been culturally and geographically confined. I recovered these stories through a terrible email system I used to update people while I was studying abroad. Nevertheless, I’m happy to share them once again, but with more pictures. Enjoy 🙂
Xi’an Even Lying!- 03.17.14
NOTE: This post has a lot of media content: pics AND video, so enjoy!
“大家好! (Hello Everyone!)
This past weekend I went to Xi’an – home of the Terracotta Warriors – and decided to do an update.
I advise you don’t drink anything, or maybe I’m hyping it up too much.
Well Saturday morning at 6 am, we went to the airport to depart to Xi’an. The flight there was a breeze and the bus to the Bell Tower in Xi’an gave me and my friend “A” no problems.
Xi’an City Center Video
We did our tourist things of getting lost in the tunnel to the Bell tower and Drum tower, and even stopped by the 10 元店 ( The 1.50 Store at the time) to pick up some souvenirs.
A Love-Hate Relationship with Xi’an Cab Drivers
It was time for us to go to the hostel, so we started to hail a cab.. We tried to hail 3 cabs. I thought thee cab drivers couldn’t understand me, but they did because the 1st cab replied to me saying “You should get one at the other side of the Bell tower.”
The second one said the hostel is too far and basically kicked us out “下车吧 (Get out the Car!) . The third drove away as we were talking. I have to say that it wasn’t a foreigner thing because even Chinese people were getting pushed away.
Aside: “To this day I don’t like Xi’an taxi drivers, but I love Xi’an!”
So, we start walking back to the Bell tower in hopes of finding a map and maybe boarding the metro.
BTW I JUST REMEMBERED…THERE WAS A FIRE NEAR THE BELL TOWER! A AND I WERE WONDERING WHY EVERYONE HAD THEIR PHONES OUT TAKING A VIDEO INSTEAD OF CALLING THE FIRE DEPARTMENT???
Quick trip to the Wild Goose Pagoda
This was still the same day.
We decided to just go to the Wild Goose Pagoda(Dayanta) because it was closing in about 2.5 hours.
We didn’t learn our lesson and tried to hail another cab. Total failure.
So, we went into this international hotel to ask them directions. We took a bus and finally got to the Pagoda. After touring there, we decided to try to get to the hostel again.
Another Attempt To Find the Hostel
We called the hostel again and followed her directions. We board a bus and then after two stops get kicked off again. A and I are both confused because it’s in the middle of nowhere. Well, I couldn’t read the characters and didn’t know where we were.
We start following this lady that also looked confused thinking she may know the way…, but we almost followed her into a restaurant where she was meeting a group of people. Basically, the bus route ended and we had to wait for it to go the other direction.
We exit on the street that the hostel told us and asked the lady for walking directions. Her response was to ask a Chinese person. I wanted to scream at her “YOU ARE A CHINESE PERSON!! “
The Muslim Square
We start following directions and stumbled upon the Muslim Square where there are a lot of food places ran by the ethnically Muslim Chinese. However, the map was leading us down some creepy dark alleys. We went through one halfway and decided to ditch the hostel and just look for a hotel out of desperation.- FYI it was nighttime.
Check out the video below.
A Sweet Deal
We found a hotel and of course it appears to be expensive, but the hotel clerk offers us the executive suite for 538 元 差不多是 80 US dollars..so 40 dollars each for me and A. We were thankful because that’s a good deal.
If I tell you how we looked when asking for the room…We looked horrible lol with our little backpacks on, sweating, tired, and frustrated. I mean in the Muslim Square video you can basically hear my exhaustion.
We enter the suite and engage in all the wonders, yadadayada and find these cute pajama sets to wear to sleep. See picture attached. However our night of fun and frustration wasn’t over yet.
A Horrible Dinner That Could Have Been Better
We go to get something to eat at this hot pot place. I completely forgot how hot pot works because I was so tired and exhausted.There were no pictures so I just started choosing some things that I understood 50 percent of. We ended up mostly with oil, water, rice, 白菜 (cabbage), a small piece of corn on the cob, and some sliced deli ham meat. Pretty depressing so to say and I think I shed a couple of tears.
We went back to the hotel and asked if there was a way to arrange a taxi so we wouldn’t waste any time the next day. We wanted to see the Terracotta Warriors and then head back to the airport. Thankfully, we were able to get our own taxi driver for the day and also practice our Chinese with him.
—Finally the end of that one day—
We hired a tour guide for the museum because I wanted to know the history- I as a Chinese major dig this kind of stuff– and I was afraid I would only leave with just pictures. There wasn’t that many boards of info and the place was relatively crowded. We also got to practice our Chinese with our tour guide. He was a funny guy telling us jokes and stuff.
In Xi’an we were major foreigners….I didn’t emphasize that as much…MAJOR FOREIGNERS … Me and A got a bunch of “Hello’s”, pictures taken with random people, people “sneakily” taking pictures of us and pointing…and some creepy construction guy giving us his business card >_<
Though all these crazy things happened, I’m proud of both A and I for pulling off our FIRST own weekend trip(without the Chinese roommates or staff) to another city in China.
Okay, well I’m out! I’ll send an update next week. This weekend we are going on a excursion with all our classmates, teachers, and roommates, so this should be fun!
-end of email
I cannot believe this was almost 4 years ago! I was not an experience traveler as you can tell. This was my first adventure that I planned on my own with one of my classmates. I returned to Xi’an to visit this year and it’s a beautiful city that is rich in culture. I didn’t appreciate that as much during my first time around. I hope to share a better post about things to do in Xi’an in the near future!