Today, we left our hotel in Beijing, and traveled by high speed train to Xi’An. I had heard much about bullet trains back at home, and was very much looking forward to riding one for the first time. Going through the security process to get into the train station, I was surprised by how relaxed they were. I even caused the metal detector to beep, but no one patted me down. After we got through security, we had some free time before boarding the train, so I decided to find a place for coffee. I saw a Starbucks, and of course every other customer inside there was an American as well. We then boarded the train and headed for Xi’An.
Once we got to the hotel and I had a chance to look at the surroundings, I realized Xi’An looked like what I had expected to see everywhere in China. Since Beijing was a much larger city, and very Westernized, I saw many similarities between the U.S. and Beijing but this was not the case for Xi’An. We first visited the Drum Tower, which was a short tour, and after filling our stomachs with dumplings, we travelled to the Muslim Streets. These streets were an amazing sight. People were crowded everywhere, and somehow bikes, scooters, and even cars were finding their way through. On both sides, you could see amazing, unique dishes, such as fried squid, crab, huge colorful cotton candy, and many more. I knew I had to come back at a time when I was hungry, since our massive dumpling meal from before suppressed my appetite while walking through the street.
After walking through Xi’an, I was interested yet nervous. I know the things I will see here will be very different from what I am used to, but that also means I must use more caution, since being a foreigner makes me a target for aggressive sellers, thieves, etc. I know once I leave this city, I will have learned many knew things, that will let me handle certain situations better in the future.