Back to Beijing

Trip Start Jun 03, 2013
Trip End Aug 25, 2013

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Sunday, July 28, 2013

We set our alarm, got ready, and went to a fast food place to get Ada the Xi'an noodles she's been wanting. I had the shredded pork (without fat) sandwich thing and some zhou (pronounced "joe") with pumpkin for breakfast. It was really good.

She had her noodles (she wasn't sure at first if it was the right kind, but it was) and the sandwich (with fat). She had been wanting those noodles since we arrived in Xi'an. In Beijing, they are just Xi'an noodles, but in Xi'an there are many different types of their special noodles, so it was hard for her to know which kind was like the ones she gets in Beijing.

After breakfast, we went back to the hotel, finished packing and took a taxi to the train station. We could have taken a bus and the subway, but decided it would be more convenient to just take a taxi. We arrived at the train station, and had to wait a little while before we could go to our platform.

The Xi'an train station is really big and nice. It reminds me of an airport. We finally got in the crazy lines to get to the platform and on the train. Some ticketholders can put their tickets through the machine to go through the gate, but our tickets weren't the right type, so we had to be in a special line to be checked manually. There's no order to the line. Cutting in line is normal, so you just have to fill up every space between you and the person in front of you, or someone else will fill it.

We then went to our train and got our seats which were better this time. Although we did not have as much leg room, we had a full window. We both slept some, then we watched "Despicable Me" on Ada's iPad. Man, I love that movie. The little boy from behind stood next to Ada and watched too. Then we ate and played Plants vs. Zombies. We wondered why we didn't do that on the train going to Xi'an.

When we got to the station in Beijing, Ada's parents were waiting for us. It was like walking into an oven when we got outside--I think the hottest I have felt it in Beijing. Apparently it was 41 C. The sky was clear and the sun was beating down. They took me to the school and helped me with my bags to the dorm building, then they went to the office to see Guo.

I put my things down and gathered my laundry. I wanted to get a load done so the clothes would dry by tomorrow. I grabbed the clothes and laundry detergent and walked a couple doors down to the room with the washing machine. Click, click. The door was locked. Huh, why? I thought, hmmm, maybe my room key will open it. So I went back to my room and got my key. Nope, didn't work. Is the machine broken? I really, really need to do laundry.

I went back to my room and decided to go to the 3rd floor and see if I can communicate with the dorm ladies. I got out my Chinese/English dictionary I had borrowed from my friend, Queena. I looked up lock: suo. I took my bottle of laundry detergent (so I could point to it) and the dictionary down to the office. Two of the ladies were there.

They were monitoring the halls (they have a console that shows the halls and stairwells via video cameras). I wondered if they saw me going back and forth to the laundry room. So I attempted to communicate that the laundry door is locked. They said something to each other, and one of them grabbed a key and headed upstairs. OK, maybe she understood?

We walked down the 6th floor hallway, past the laundry room, and she went to my room. I was like, no, no, pointing down the hall to the laundry door. Later I realized she was looking for my Chinese roommate. She found a Chinese girl in the hall to translate. Basically, the washing machine doesn't belong to us, and we can't use it. [Apparently it was ok for everyone to use it a few days ago???]

The girl was very nice and offered to let me borrow her washing soap, because I would have to wash my laundry by hand. Of course, I was standing there with a nearly full bottle of laundry detergent, so I thanked her and said I would use that. She also said there is a machine in the classroom building that we can pay to use. I thanked them both in Chinese and went in my room, pissed. I didn't want to tell the girl that I wouldn't even know HOW to wash clothes using a bar of soap. At times like this, being a spoiled American sucks.

So I decided which items I needed washed first (pajamas and underwear) and I washed those. Without the spin cycle from the machine, it takes forever for the clothes to dry. I even rolled them up in my towel to get out as much water as I could. I'm going to have to wash a few items every day.

Also, in between washing clothes, I tried and tried to get on the internet. It wouldn't work for anything. Total frustration. I wanted to update my blog about Xi'an before I forget everything. No can do. I sent an email to my husband through my phone, but that was the best I could do.

I went to bed at about 10 p.m. I was very tired.
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