The Adventures of Gimpy Girl

A journal of the trials and triumphs of another trip to unexplored territory.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Onto Xian-- Touring madness

This is a day I will always recount when someone wants the hear about traveling with a tour group. We woke up early and I joined the others on the top deck where we were docked in Chongqing. I watched them do Tai Chi while photographing the fantastic view of this metropolitan port situated at the northern end of the Yangtze River. After breakfast we left the ship. Our bags and my scooter had already been sent to the airport where we would arrive after our adventures is Chongqing. The first adventure was getting from the boat to the bus. This required getting me up a huge flight of steps that would tire the most hardy traveler. Larry and Patrik, our tour guide, negotiated a price and four men carried me in my lightweight wheelchair up the foreboding incline. Somewhere near the top the carriers started trying to renegotiate the deal. I don't know if they decided I was a heavier load than they anticipated or what but the 100 yuan suddenly didn't seem like enough. Back and forth haggling while I was suspended atop the staircase and eventually they agreed to take me to the top despite Larry's refusal to cave into their demands.
OntoXian Chongquing
Once we made it to the bus we zigzaged through town to a famous szechuan restaurant where we got to experience some of the best food we'd had yet in China. Then back on the bus and to the zoo to see some of China's dearest inhabitants, now on the verge of extinction, the panda. Unlike in the States there were no long lines and fanfare. Just us and the panda while he enjoyed a lunch of bamboo. Then after a few pictures we were hurried over to the monkey cage, and then to the bengal tiger. At the end of the zoo circuit we stopped at the gallery and Larry purchased some amazing white purple jade statues of quan yin and I stocked up on art supplies.
Chongqing Zoo
Back on the bus and we were off to the airport. This time it was an impressive modern airport and we had a much easier time getting through with the scooter. Larry and I scored seats in the bulkhead and shortly after taking off they started a movie (in Chinese) and fed us a meal of some kind of frightening substance. An hour and a half later we were landing in Xian and I was wishing I'd taken more of this opportunity to sleep. Onto the next bus and a new local tour guide spent the entire ride into town telling us of local history, most of which I slept through.
First stop in Xian was at the ancient gate, from which armies would protect the city from invaders. While everyone climbed to the top of the wall, Larry and I waited below. Once everybody had time to circle the wall the climbed back down and into the bus and bedraggled as most of us were beginning to feel it wasn't time to go to our hotel yet. Instead we were of too another culinary treasure of the local, this time it was dumplings. We decided we'd also enjoy some local delights of a potent plum wine and bitter melon beer. But shortly after the flambe finale we sucked up our wine before rushing off to yet another activity. It was on this night that our tour group was to see the "most amazing show that I guarantee you will absolutely love" as Patrik did all he could to convince us that this would be better that relaxing and returning to our hotel.
Xian bitter melon beer
So despite protests of the weary group we left the restaurant and again borded the bus. The dropped our scruffy group at the Vegas-style show and we were escorted to a table at the back of the room where we were offered more alcohol. We propped our heads up and watched as the razzle dazzle unfolded. But no amount of show-stopping glitz would open my eyes further than a slit at this point and I spent the whole show wondering when it was going to be over. On a different day I might have found it to be amuzing but it was all just a little much at this point in my day. I was certainly not alone in my sentiments. Heads laid on the table all around the group as we all were way past being easily amuzed.

4 Comments:

At 8:27 PM, Blogger Erik Mann said...

I was looking for blogs about tai chi and came across yours. I have whats referred to as a hard style Karate School and this is something we've been contemplating adding to it. Great blog you have and I've enjoyed reading the posts on it.

 
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At 11:47 PM, Blogger Santa Claus said...

Merry Christmas!

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