Sit beside the gate until 5:45pm when suddenly boarding begins.
We are all aboard plane by 6:04. Until a woman leaps up and demands a blanket. Not like we all haven’t been waiting for hours to leave. Then the captain announces we can’t take off until 6:40. I go pee. Then OL does.
Flight takes off around 7 after several false starts and a slow tour of the airport.
Upside, they feed us. I get beef and noodles, OL gets chicken with rice. And these mega powerful mint gum drops with eucalyptus and menthol. OL nearly kills me with his minty minty freshness.
We have some turbulence during which none of the Chinese follow instructions regarding staying in seats. Which is the norm in China.
We land around 9:30. Hiking girl practically shoves me aside to go climb mountain. Lol. We go to get luggage and it takes forever. Grrr.
I pop over to tourist place and pick up a map of Xian recommended by the Lonely Planet guidebook. We wait for luggage to start. OL gets in there to get bags and I wait with backpacks.
We go on search of taxis. No signage. Finally ask Info Desk. Unfortunately a guy keeps saying I’m a taxi driver beside us. Every guidebook warns against taking the guys inside and recommends going outside to taxi stand. We tell him no repeatedly and then go to outside taxi stand.
Taxi stand guy and cab driver speak English. Xian is hazy at night. Smog we guess. Cab driver drives with window down.
This is our intro to Xian. The smells. Dear god. Horse shit. Rancid milk. Sour garbage. Sickly sweet garbage. I don’t know what else we smelled. But it was bad. OL and I keep making faces and trying to name what we smell. It’s an assault on our nostrils every step of the way.
Takes a while to get into city center. The cab ride is worse than Suzhou. Wild wild west driving. Man on cell phone tries to walk across seven lane highway. We assume he’s drunk to be this stupid. Cars and motorbikes and bikes and trucks coming at each other from every angle. Not sure there are roads. Just vehicles merging and converging. Xian drivers turn three lanes into six.
Intense. Xian has a ton going on at night. People are out and about. Maybe it’s because the air is better. Idk. Monuments are beautifully lit up at night. See bell tower and drum tower and gates to city. Gorgeous.
Taxi driver finally pulls up on sidewalk and parks in front of hotel. We pay 150yuan for ride. We get out and go to check into Jinjiang inn.
Front desk speaks English. Checkin is very slow with forms etc. They take forever to find my reservation. Finally we are given room key. It’s on the first floor around a corner. Hidden from view so we take elevator to second floor. Double back. Then walk down long side hallway. Open the room and the stench of rotten dairy products robs us of thought. Omfg. We search the room for the source and realize the window is open, ew.
We shut it and turn on the ac. Second problem. One small bed. The reservation clearly states 2 beds. OL gets his German face. We are going back to the front desk he tells me. I swallow. Okay.
We go to front desk and show our confirmation which states standard room with 2 beds. She gives us a new room on 4th floor. However, in her nervousness she gives us a room number that doesn’t exist. 8441. I deduce she meant 8411. At the end of the hall. Beyond the section of wall hidden behind a sheet where some sort of construction is going on.
Room had 2 beds. OL gives me double and takes single. Room is neat. A/C smells of mold.
Bathroom is small and badly lit but clean and modern. I want to cry. Such a fall from the last 3 hotels. No safe in room, leave valuables with front desk my ass.
OL says it’s not that bad. We’re just tired. OL tries to figure out the tv. Finds only CCTV Chinese channels. Asks how many CCTV channels the can be. Answer: 18. Finds Bear Grylls dubbed in Chinese and goes apeshit.
We have western dimsum. Lays potato chips, shortbread, Pocky, BBQ chips, rice crackers.
OL passes out before I get out of shower. Then he talks to me twice in German while still asleep. I don’t speak German.