Oct 27, 2008
Oct 27, 2009
Sam: The bikes were great. I was pleasently surprised me and giles survived the tandem, thought giles would have annoyed me so much i would have kicked him off. Weather here is rubbish, cold and grey. So unsurprisilingly giles has caught a 'cold' and is moaning about it all the time!!!! Met a lovely german couple so spent a couple of days with them. Drinking too much cheap beer. Went to a night market with every kind of fake designer gear you can imagine, Giles got some armani sunglasses for 4quid. Bargained down from 150Y!. Changing hostels tomorrow to one recommended by many fellow travellers, a bit cheaper and more sociable. Looking forward to some sun and relaxation in thailand. One other thing, we keep getting Laowei shouted at us which we found out today means foreigner! Could be worse!
Giles: We both have sore bums, again! Not due to a long train journey face-to-face with China's finest rural folk, but we went for a lovely bike ride (in tandem... more on that later) on Xi'an's city wall. Big big wall, built hundreds of years ago to protect it from invaders (Xi'an used to be China's capital, a long time ago), and it's now turned into a tourist attraction just like most of China's historical monuments. Wasn't a great deal to see from the tops, but it was obvious that the poor were shoved to the outer parts of the city as we saw slum after slum, more slums, some with satellite dishes, some with no roofs. Nice ride though, first bit of exercise either of us have done in a fair old while. So as mentioned, we were in tandem, and it was almost a flawless exercise in teamwork! Got a bit hairy going up and down corrugated ramps, but the main thing is we survived as did our bums, just. The front wheel was buckled, handlebars shaky, cogs and chain completely rusted over - I wonder if our insurance company would have classed it as an extreme sport??!! Did the obligatory Western thing by having a short stop in a Starbucks (similar pricing to England too...) but not after some, probably dodgy, food from one of the slum's alleyways. Spent 10 pence on some funky garlic and spinach type bread and a few meat filled dumplings, then 3 quid on a coffee, such a balance this place has! We were almost vctims of a tourism scam too, when we hired the tandem bike for the wall they said we used them for three hours, and we started using them at 11:10 - so they wanted to charge for two extra hours; pretty diffictul that as we were still in bed at 11:30! Silly people, was all kosher in the end. Something else that is funny is the amount of Chinese girls running up to Sam out of nowhere and just saying "excuse me, you are very beautiful" then running off giggling. They used to say I'm strong and handsome in Beijing, but I think that was just a ploy to get me in the stalls to buy "authentic" Rolf Lauren and Thomas Hilfiger merchandise.