Trip Start Aug 07, 2013
Trip End Sep 01, 2013

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Flag of China  , Shaanxi,
Saturday, August 17, 2013

Pre Blog

After a guided tour around the rest of Xi'an and maybe visiting the Great Mosque, the Temple of the eight importals we depart on our second overnight train (16 hours this time - getting longer) towards Shanghai

Live Blog

Donna went to bed last night streaming with cold. How can you get a cold in these temperatures ?

Our train does not depart until 6pm tonight and everyone decided to have a free day - leisurely

Mark and Evelyn went of early to do their bike ride around the city walls (they did not come the other day) and the rest of us seem to be still in bed (10;30 already !!!)

We just need a rest. Plan is a late breakfast (very late) and a wander down town for a stroll this afternoon.

Fried egg and toast with pineapple smoothy - great breakfast (brunch) meal....

Afterwards all three of us left all the rest of the group chilling in the hotel and set off for the Bell tower... Donna and Helen managed 50 feet before giving in with the heat and turned back !

A cold and 40 degree temperatures don't mix ! Helen just chickened out - squark !

I carried on, swapped some more dollars at the bank of china (load more red tape) and then carried on to the bell tower. Great views down onto the city and quite a pleasant breeze

The bell tower is in a middle of a roundabout with 5 lanes. It was interesting just watching chaos below - people just travel round the roundabout in both directions - they have no road sense at all - carnage but no accidents. I don't know how it works !! I just sat and watched and relaxed for 1/2 hour.

The only incident was a Chinese tour guide who obviously makes some side money collecting plastic water bottles from the bins was grabbed by security and arrested !!! I assume just thrown off the property (I hope !). Just shows how little tour guides get and most of them are very poor.

I then went shopping in a posh Harrods lookalike shop to grab some British essentials for breakfast and dinner on our forthcoming 16 hour train journey tonight. At least it will be edible if not 3 times British prices.. We just don't want to consider the food served on the train !!!

Currently back in McDonalds , ice cold drink and air con writing up my blog, however you have to ask for no ice as its made from local water which is not good for westerners !!! Free wifi though !

I better get back as I have been out now for over three hours - they will think I have been kidnapped.

For tea Robert took us to the Chinese equivalent of McDonalds. A fast food chain called Wei Jai that specialises in cold noodle dishes and a strange what I would describe as a hog roast sandwich in a battered pancake dough. Nathan was not impressed with tonight's meal !

Whilst we were there the area manager of the chain happened to be in and took a pile of promotional photos of us for the business. Don't think they have had westerners in before !!

We arrived a little early at the railway station and once again chose the first class lounge (actually probably 5th class in uk) you don't want to even know what the normal lounge is like. Helen went to the loo and said never again, the worse toilets she had ever seen. She described them like men's urinals. No cubical a just slight jutty out bits between each - with no hygiene at all.

Anyway we are now on the train with our "SNACKS". Robert keeps repeating that we need lots of snacks !

We are in a compartment with 'grandma and grandad' and their daughter, a lovely but very old couple. We helped them with their bags which Robert said afterwards he overheard the daughter say was so impressed she phoned her relatives to say they were sharing with some extremely nice english. Later grandma was concerned my white socks would get dirty and she insisted on giving me some hotel slippers to wear. No one seems to wear shoes in the train (unless you go to the loo - actually deep sea diving suit with oxygen mask would be more suitable !!)

It's just gone 10pm and strict lights out....
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Colin on

Was there still a Kentucky Fried chicken opposite McDonald's?

Mum and Dad. on

Xian is amazing isn't it? We have just been reading our diary notes (1944) about our stay in Xian.It was 39C then.Watching two fascinating programmes about Chinese cooking. A Chinese chef is travelling there. His first visit since 1989.It all looks delicious. We hope Donna's cold soon clears up.

Alistair and Philip on

Alistair is wondering whether or not you've been lucky enough to travel with live chickens in the bunk above you like he did in Thailand? They didn't seem to wait till 7am for the wake up call! Enjoy Shanghai - looking forward to reading about it.

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