Annotated journal entry, so please excuse the brevity:
Our first and last full day in Xi’an was spent at Emperor Qin Shihuangdi’s tomb full of terracotta soldiers. EEEEEEEEEEEE. I may or may not have geeked out over this site in particular. I remember the smell of clay quite clearly. Xi’an was hazy, but bright. Museums —especially the Palace Museum. Extensive, and tiring after a long day. It was supposed to happen the day before, but it was closed and so it was moved to terracotta soldiers day.
The day before in Xi’An: arrival at 7:45am-ish. Overnight train ride was like a sleepover. Lots of giggling and confessions and shrieking. It was the first night I stayed up late (past 10:30pm…1am!). Attempt to sleep…was first nauseous and then comforting. Tandem bikes on the great inner city wall with M. Seemed like a good idea at the time. Harder (literally and figuratively) than it looks! Rough start but no actual accidents. Long. Excruciatingly so. My bike partner had a lot of energy leftover. Constant biking for 1.5 hours left me without. We were late to our meeting time (4:15pm).
Original mosquito bites are calming down, but I got new ones! 14 in total. My ankles swelled up! (Update: now in Chengdu I’ve got four more!)
Crazy shoe tan. Wow.
Packed most stuff the night before for 11:30am departure to the airport. We went to the Moslem district to the Great Mosque (25 yuan) and then had street food for dinner! Beef kebabs for me. The owner used metal sticks, so we had to eat near the stall amongst the smoke. Took awhile. The vendor appeared to understand English, as he apparently recognized our muttered complaints and gestured to stools behind him. Delicious! Juicy, only a little spiciness. Dirty floor. C and I got ours later than K, S, JM, and G. M got her lamb kebabs last. Left and muscled our way down more tight streets lined with vendors. Saw a beautiful table runner (cerulean blue) and a fan, but bought neither. Bought a pomegranate to share with M, and tried various foods: rice cakes of multiple kinds (the green bean one…square-ish? Shared with K. Good, but dry), and pomegranate juice. Getting used to sharing food with others, although for the most part we remember to use separate ends of our chopsticks to serve food. Walked back to the hotel, but bought beer at the convenience store across from “Apart’hotel” where we’re staying. I bought a small can of coffee and a black currant ice cream bar (Update: in love with this ice cream bar. I’ve eaten like six) with a passed expiration date. No biggy because I’ve had an ice cream bar with a passed experiation date before and I’m okay. So, uh. Tempting fate every day with my reckless eating. Went back to the convenience store twice more with others (S and K; G and E) to get more beer, although I got pear juice and another bar. Played card guessing game and passed conversation. KTV (karaoke) next, at about 8pm. Went to a huge, multi-storied one. Fifth floor. 508? All of us went. I sang at least three songs, and sang along to a lot more. Sang Like Money with JM! Rapped Yubin’s part like the beast that I am. Three hours later, it ended well. Unified front? Bonded, pretty sure. Group singing and dancing. Made strides towards friendship with more of the group members that night. Good stuff. Walked back afterwards and hung out on the “balcony” of E’s room. Climbed out window to the roof and sat on the ledge overlooking the street. E almost sat on a nail. M and I ate the pomegranate (the seeds inside of the seeds were hard to stomach, mostly a psychological thing), beer was had. I had a sip each from K and M. Discussed many topics. Started to rain, which I thought was refreshing until someone pointed out that it was polluted rain. Eventually returned inside to room; more conversation; M and Gen returned from convenience store. Left shortly after 1am. Showered. Packed. Ready for the flight for Chengdu!