We left the hotel this morning at 10 am and drove to the airport and said good bye to a few more friends (our bus driver who was with us the whole week and might I say got that big bus into some incredibly tight areas, and to Madam Wong who assisted in organizing the trip for the Chinese side). We actually flew out at 1:30 or so and was in Xi'an by 4. It was a very uneventful flight, although I might add that I'm not exactly sure what they offered for the in-flight snack, but it was not the traditional peanuts so I pretended to be asleep.
Driving from the airport to our Hostel we quickly realized we were not in Shanghai anymore. The outskirts of the city was acres and acres of farmland, and looks much older than anywhere we have been. It's a much smaller city (only 6 million people) and the main part of the city still is guarded by a 30-40 foot stone wall, but at the same time looks very modern and hip. As mentioned above we are staying in a Youth Hostel. I think a few of us were a little leery about what we were getting into, but it didn't take long for us to be convinced we were going to like it. The structure is a traditional Chinese house, but equipped with wireless Internet, a pool table, a little restaurant, and many other amenities. It's not incredibly big but it is crawling with youth from around the world. The only problem we encountered (that I have seen) is the phone situation which I believe many of us will be sharing one cell phone. So if we call less you will know why.
Xi'an is crawling with WVU alumni and they have already graced us with sign and banners greeting us where ever we go and a nice banquet this evening. I think the favorite of this evening was a yogurt drink that helped with the spicy food. We also ate duck, jelly fish, and some other unidentifiable foods, but I think we found enough to get full. Those that didn't hit up McDonald's later tonight. We were given the rest of the night to do what we want, so many of us wandered the city and others just sat around enjoying the Hostel and playing some pool. Regardless, I think we will all enjoy this city.
This was our final moments with Madam Wong (pictured in the middle) at the Pudong airport outside of Shanghai.
On the plane and ready to go.
This is right outside of the restaurant in Xi'an. Like I mentioned it's a very beautiful city and there couldn't have been a more perfect night, weather wise.
This isn't the best picture but I wanted to give you an idea as to how our Hostel looks on the inside. Dr. Chow is instructing us on how the rest of the days events are going to go.
As I mentioned, Xi'an is a more traditional Chinese City. Here is a picture of one of the downtown areas we ran into about a block away from the Hostel.
Once again, I'm sorry for the lack of pictures, but there are only so many interesting pictures you can take at the airport. Hopefully tomorrow will be better.