China: Day 5-6

Up and out of Pingyao with no issues. Jin Yer walked us to the bus stop… what a wonderful host. We then took the bullet train to Xi’an. The train is so fast (around 300 km/hr), smooth, and comfortable…  Tons of legroom and really a joy to be on. I hope to witness a bullet train like these in the states in my lifetime… they are really amazing.

The countryside is interesting. The mountains and scatteted farmland are really quite lovely and the low “clouds” could be described as serene if one didn’t know what they represented. The frequent giant high rises that grow out of the decimated earth surrounding a group of billowing smokestacks is really what draws your attention away from the natural beauty of the rolling landscape. As I roll on the elevated super rail past the shacks below and stare at and the concrete symbol of global commerce and wild consumption that this excellent and driven culture has solved for, I see no end in sight. There is so much land and the growth is so meticulously orderly… always up…. high rises in the middle of a field… it’s amazing.

Landing in Xi’an we decided to get a room for the night and grab a flight to Xiamen in the morning to skip the 22hr train ride. Xi’an is quite a rising city. You see it immediately on the outskirts. I counted at least 30 high rises in different phases of construction just in the last few miles on the northwest side of the rail. Coming into the GIGANTIC north rail station, you immediately see the expected growth. With three metro lines running and 10ish in the works, the city planners are definitely optimistic. Since those numbers aren’t here yet, we enjoyed a very easy arrival. The rail connected directly to the metro, the metro brought us right to the bell tower in the heart of the city.  From there, it was a short walk to the Han Tang House… our accommodations for the evening. It was a hip little hostel with a nice staff and tsingtao on tap. After a few hours dedicated to booking our plane ticket and room in Xiamen, we decided to see what the Muslim Quarters was all about… it did not disappoint. 

Food, vendors, knick-nacks, more food, nock-off handbags and sunglasses, more food…

Then out of nowhere, there are the giant towers…

It’s funny how they have integrated ultra modern design around ultra classical buildings…

After taking in the evening sights, we hit the bunks… literally, since we were in a dorm room… 

In the morning, we leisurely grabbed lunch at a veggie friendly place called three sisters dumplings… it was outstanding… lower left is maybe the best tofu dish on the planet…

Then happened to see some practice drills at the South gate of the old city wall

After o1ur walk, we grabbed the bus to the airport. Xi’an airport, like the rest of the city, is ultra modern and ready to process giant groups of people that we didn’t see, so check in and security was a breeze.

The flight to Xiamen was smooth and we opted for a cab ride since we didn’t have any reference on public transport… turned out cheap and simple. With the windows down on the drive over, the climate was drastically different from the 40 degree and rain in Xi’an… here, its a beach town…its winter and 70 degrees. We got to the Koala Hostel by 9 and and the room has the widow open with no screen. People in the streets are diverse, easy going, and friendly. I’m looking forward to exploring this oceanside city tomorrow. 

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