Oh, so that is what happens when everyone goes on vacation at once
We thought we had it all under control. We were in X'ian, third big city on our adventure. Do what we want to here, and then head onto Chengdhu, no problemo.
Except, we were twitching about whether to go the Chengdhu or back to Suzhou, and then the woman at the hostel wouldn't book our train tickets for us, and then we went to the "ticket seller" and she was the meanest woman in the world and just kept pulling a "computer says no" on us and laughing in our faces, and then we got to the incredibly crowded train station (did you know there are 1.5 billion people here?) and the woman in the first two lines wouldn't or couldn't help us, there were no tickets available (our lack of Mandarin was a big negative), and Morag and I were almost yelling at each other, and then a woman sold us tickets for two days from now, and then about 15 minutes later we are walking down the street and realize our tickets take us to the wrong city (Suzhou and Xuzhou may be pronounced very differently in Mandarin but to our ears they seemed the same), so we head back to the train station again, and get the right tickets, but they are for 2 days later and they are on a slow train and we can only get hard seats and they leave at midnight and get there 24 hours later and waaaaaaah! A lot of people are traveling right now, and we want to go the same direction as them. Boo hoo, no Chengdu, but more X'ian and Suzhou, so ok. After the crowded train, mean woman, ticket fiasco we had a freaking excellent afternoon. We visited a wicked Pagoda and saw a huge bell, then we went to visit the biggest Mosque in China but instead get lost in the maze of alleyways in X'ian's Muslim quarter and it is like Blade Runner meets the Exhibition meets a claustrophobic's worst nightmare and we eat some DELICIOUS cold noodles with sesame and chili sauce and then some weird gelatinous rice goobers in chilies (not nearly as tasty as the noodles) and some alarmingly cute and dainty fried quail eggs on bamboo skewers and are thrilled and delighted. Now we are back at the hostel, have been kicked out of the bar and are sitting in the cafe and are a little bit drunk. An exhilarating day.