“We woke up and enjoyed the buffet breakfast at the hotel. The breakfast had many more western options than the Beijing Hotel breakfast, but also included many Chinese staples.
We left the hotel at 8am and then travelled to Honeywell for a presentation from the Marketing Manager, Ronnie. Joining us for the presentation were several students from a partner University in Xi’an. After the presentation we had a Q and A and then visited their product room where we viewed products and interacted with the Chinese students.
During the event Matt asked a student how to translate a question he had. the Chinese student happily obliged. We are not sure how Matt knew, but his spider sense tingled and he decided to run the translation past Fengwei. Fengwei’s only response was to laugh and suggest that Matt not repeat anything he just said. We gathered for a couple of group pictures and then left. Noticeable was the fact that Ronnie was not your typical Marketing Manager; he seemed quite understated and soft spoken.
We then travelled to a lunch buffet with a large selection of foods. We appeared to arrive just after an African tour group and the competition for the food was great. At one point there was a number from our group standing around a circular buffet table and no one was moving. It was a mexican standoff. Except in China. And with buffet plates instead of guns. Finally someone had the idea that even if we didn’t move we could pass or plates to our classmates around the table and get a few more items added to our plates.
After lunch we headed to the Xi’an city wall where we rented bikes and rode around the 14 kilometre city wall. The city wall was bumpy and you needed to watch out for chipped or missing bricks that made the bumpy ride even bumpier. Most people rented single bikes but a few tried tandems. Sean and Marthe shared a tandem and after a failed corner led by Marthe, they switched spots and Sean recklessly (Sean: it wasn’t reckless, it was just exciting) led the rest of the journey. While on the city wall we stopped frequently to take pictures. The best picture was of a police car with an obvious spelling error, the car which read “PLOICE”. Xian, although a second tier Chinese city, had large condos or large condos under construction in all of the sight-lines from our bikes. It was quite remarkable to see how built up and dense a smaller city in China could be.
After the city wall we headed to the Muslim quarter where we wandered the markets. A trip low-light was the most disgusting bathroom so far. Details of which should not be shared. While at the market some people bought a few more souvenirs and many were even brave enough to try street meat and other foods from the various vendors. A popular street meat among the locals was Golden Retriever – just kidding! There was a lot of shopping to be done as well but we were pressed for time. As usual, we had to barter hard for our purchases (Except for Neil, whose dark passenger kept talking him into buying nothing).
After the Muslim quarter we had our dumpling dinner (NaNaNaNaNaNaNa Dumpling feast!) where we tasted nearly 20 different dumplings. Unfortunately the bird flu concerns meant that chicken was off the menu and pork and beef dominated the various selections.
After dinner the group divided into three groups. One group walked back and were able to enjoy the great weather along with a mechanical bull and dancing/umbrella twirling in the public square. Another group headed back to the hotel and exercised and/or swam in the hotel pool. The final group went to a cultural show about the history of The Tang Dynasty.
Things seemed to wind up at a reasonable hour as the morning required our luggage to be ready for transport to the airport by 5:45am.”
This blog post was submitted to me by Sean Feehan, Gagan Duhra and Mike Meldrum