Jul 08

Xi’an to Guilin

Monday, July 21 Today we made a big move. We slept in slightly and then caught the airport express bus. The bus left from in front of a nearby hotel and we had to fend off many persistent cab drivers desperate for our fare. After waiting for a discount airfare (per the advice of our reliable friends at CITS) the only plane tickets left for our date were first class. They encouraged us to fly the next day instead, but the tour must go on. We enjoyed our first class treatment in lines, lounges and seating and it only cost the same as a U.S. coach domestic flight. This leg of the trip was noticeably different from our black market bus experience. Josh kept waiting for several people to pack in around him in his spacious seat. Continue reading →

Jul 08

Xi’an: Soldiering On …

Sunday, July 20th Today will be a short blog (Josh is typing it). We had a good day. Did some “chores” to start, then had a nice walk through the city. Continue reading →

Jul 08

Pingyao to Xi’an

Saturday, July 19 Cut to the chase. We made it!

We woke up extra early, checked out of our super cute Yide Hotel (Josh calls it a very well preserved, traditional courtyard house) and walked to the slightly shadier hostel that would actually arrange for us to hop on a bus in the middle of a highway. Our hotel would not arrange such illicit tickets for us and the workers there were concerned that this was our plan, but the only trains through Pingyao to Xi’an left at late evening and we needed a morning departure. I am actually no longer so certain that the hostel lady is truly a CITS agent. I think that Pingyao does not have a CITS office and she is maybe a helper – or a go between – or a friend of CITS – but really I think she is a Red, a man who knows how to get things, and we are Andy. Continue reading →

Jul 08

From Beijing to Hong Kong

This is where we are headed…

I can’t tell which mapping program is better so I have included two maps.

We are headed in a counter-clockwise direction, beginning in the upper right (i.e., Northeast) corner in Beijing.  Since the green and red push pins are not labeled with the appropriate city names and do not tell us “geographically hindered” people what cities they are “tacking”, here’s the list in chronological order:  Beijing, Datong, Pingyao, Xi’an, Guilin, Yangshuo, Shenzhen and ending in Hong Kong.

Map #1


Map #2

Map image

Here is the first map zoomed in a bit differently.  The map of the states beneath it is set at the exact same scale just so you can get an idea of how far we will be traveling.



Jun 08

Xi’an #1

Saturday, June 28 Just outside of Xi’an several decades ago, a few farmer’s discovered the largest archaeological sight in the world, the site of the Terracotta Army. The army is pretty impressive, but as might be expected surrounding the so-called eighth wonder of the world is a mess of tourist traps. The actual Terracotta Army would surely lose in battle to the miniature souvenir army that has surrounded its position. An indication of some of the mystery surrounding the site or of the cynicism of some of my colleagues- several of my classmates were convinced the whole site was a hoax by the time we left.

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