The longest 13 hours of my life…

So I finally got outta Beijing. Not that I didn’t like Beijing, but it was so hard to relax because everyone is trying to get a scam over or take advantage. Now, it’s not a whole lotta money we’re talking–like a difference of like 2 or 3 dollars really. It’s just the principle I guess.

Anyway, I decided that I would take a “hard seat” to my next stop, Xi’an. Now, everyone would joke me when I told them this. Comments like “I hope you aren’t sitting next to an old woman with a live chicken” LOL. But the ticket was dirt cheap (150 yuan–I guess about 35 bucks?) and I had to say that I tried it.

First of all, the Beijing train station was CHAOS! I thought I was going to miss my train because the Beijing traffic is worse than NY rush hour traffic. And I step into the train station–and I guess it sorta reminded me of the Port Authority in NY, but about 20 times more people. And just hella crowded. The “waiting rooms” smelled like there mighta been some live chickens in there.

So I finally get on the train. These “hard seats” make Greyhound Buses look like Roles Royces. LOL. It’s a seat with MAYBE an inch of cushion–but I think that’s being generous. It has blue covering so you aren’t just on the seat itself–and hard as hell! With either 2 or three people in a row. There isn’t a partition either…it’s just a long bench for either 2 or three people. The first six hours were okay…but trying to sleep sitting up…sucks.

And apparently the cheap seats also come with little to no ventilation. I had to sleep (and I use that term lightly) in a cabin that smelled like inside the muffler of a car. The guy next to me just laughed and said “these are the poor seats.” I mean damn…does poor have to translate into killing me one lung at a time?!

The one thing I haven’t talked about so far–which surprises me now that I think about it–has been the spitting. In China (well, Beijing and Xi’an at least) people spit EVERYWHERE all of the time. And they don’t just spit politely. Think Leonardo DiCaprio in Titanic trying to teach ole girl to spit. Then think of that irritating sound times 20. That’s what you hear all day every day. And the train, unfortunately, was no exception. Yes, I heard people hawking it up on the train and it was absolutely terrible. So much so that I couldn’t even finish eating my yummy duck that I’d taken to eat on the train…

So after 13 long ass hours…I finally get to Xi’an. I like this city already. It’s a LITTLE less polluted than Beijing–but definitely fewer people which translates into fewer cars. But there are still alot I suppose. But the town itself –at least inside the gate, seems really cool. This was much more of what I was expecting to see.

So as soon as I got in, I took a shower and got on a tour for that morning to see the Terracotta Warriors, the Tomb of Qin Sihuang, the Banpo Neolithic Villiage and the Huaquing Hot Springs.

The terracotta warriers were awesome. Basically one of the old emperors had a full army, built out of clay, placed in his tomb to protect him in the after life. But he didn’t have just a few. Apparently he had over 6000. I actually saw a documentary on the terracotta warriors a few months ago. I think they said that emperor was a little loopy, LOL.

The tomb of Quin Sihuang was okay. I swear, if I have to climb another set of steps up a mountain, my legs are going to fall off! And when we got to the top, I was sorta disappointed…there wasn’t much of a tomb to see, but the view was nice. I did, though have some green pea ice cream. This was the same ice cream I was looking for a few days ago, LOL. It tasted pretty much like the red bean ice cream…at least I tried it.

The Village was kinda wack, but the Hot Springs were BEAUTIFUL. Unfortunately we didn’t have nearly enough time there. That kinda sucks when you to tours. I usually prefer to venture off by myself so that I can take as much time as I want. But taking tours definitely gives you the opportunity to meet some interesting people.

Today, I met a guy J. From Chicago. Definitely one of the most interesting characters I’ve met thus far. He’s a cool kid (I think about 21–not even a senior in college yet). I’m not going to put his business out there…but lets just say, he’s had waaaay more fun on his trip then I will ever have on any trip that I go to. Put it this way–ladies, if you are a woman and your man says he’s going to Thailand for a vacation–tell him hell naw. Really put your foot down–even if that’s not your style. And if he goes anyway, make sure he gets all the proper tests done when he gets back. LOL. He gave me an earful today boy–and I’m dying to share, LOL, but since I’m not in a very private internet place now, it’s probably best not to, LOL.