Xi'an's Bell Tower.
Our overnight train to Xi’an was smooth and arrived on time. The
equipment was superior to the Russian trains that we saw. The car was quite
comfortable. The only problem was that the cabin crew did not keep the
lavatory facilities as clean as did the Russian and Mongolian povodnitsas.
This was our first experience with a four-passenger room on a railway car.
It was what is called a “soft seat” on Chinese railways. Soft seat? Perhaps!
But a hard bed! The fourth person in our cabin was Mei, on her way home
to Xi’an for a fifteen day vacation. She is an auditor in the Beijing office of
KPMG. Xi’an Station was a mob scene! We eventually hooked up with
Cynthia, our local tour guide. Fortunately, our rooms at the Bell and Drum
Tower Hotel were available immediately upon our arrival.
Penny and I did laundry in the room. We then met up with Alaine and
walked to the Muslim Quarter. We had a great lunch of spicy barbecued
lamb and beef, mixed vegetables, and what was billed as “Chinese bread”
but looked rather like a Boboli pizza crust from the grocery store. It all
tasted good, but it was definitely a two-Coke lunch! The three of us then
shopped around some more. I bought a pack of post cards which I later
mailed. Penny and I went to see the Drum tower, where we took in the drum
performance that was soon to start. We got a surprise bonus when we
discovered a display of Qing Dynasty furniture on the second floor.
Muslim Quarter street scene.