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3 | Shanghai to Xi'an China

15 April (Monday)


Very pleasant train to Xi'an followed by a late lunch in the Muslim Quarter, and an evening wandering the streets of Xi'an.

All went to plan. Train tickets waiting for me at my Hotel, 15 minute subway ride to Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station and a bullet train that departed on time.

Train to Xi'an

She must have an American name but my seat-partner for this six-hour adventure introduced herself as Xiaohong and she seemed to enjoy talking although not so much as to be irritating. Xiaohong grew-up in Xi'an. After a degree in transportation engineering from a local university, she used her talent in math to earn a Master's in Finance from New York University, met another Chinese student and married. I think they are wealthy, as she talked about investments in Southern China.

She lives in Princeton New Jersey and was returning home to see family and friends - although her parents have lived with her in the US the last 20 years. She is also travelling home to offer a guest lecture at her former university. Two children, one at Princeton and the other in High School. She was critical of food production in China especially baby food, as some Chinese manufacturers had produced food so unhealthy that children died. I told her that I think the Chinese have been doing this to each other for 5,000 years. Xiaohong pointed out the Hua mountain range - see picture - and she said that she used to hike in this area as a child. She was a pleasant travelling companion. I wished her well and was off to my hotel.

Arriving at the Start of the Silk Road

Xiaohong had explained how to take the subway and she encouraged me to rent a bike on top of the South Gate and ride the wall that encircled the old city - 14 km. It was at the top of my list after the terracotta warriors.

The Merlinhood Hotel serves Chinese tourist and this is why I made a reservation. Grand lobby - 1970's feeling. The first room was too dark so I went for a late lunch - see picture - while waiting for a room with a grand view and sunshine.

Spent the evening wandering the streets and getting a feeling for the city that would be home for the next three days...

Some great picture along the way, and while wandering around, including the Bell Tower - Xi'an city centre - and the South Gate each at night and dancing in the streets. The Chinese like to dance.

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