We all got up really early to leave for the train station. Some people on the trip had gotten really sick and went to the hospital the night before, so we had to leave seven people behind. Gabby and Liliana stayed with them.
The bullet train was awesome. It reached speeds of roughly 300 km/h, and I couldn’t even feel it. On the way to Xi’an, we passed by large fields and small cities, and then we went through some mountains; it was very scenic. It was about a six-hour ride, and I spent most of my time getting caught up on my blogs, and other people caught up on sleep.
When we got off the train we went to the hotel to drop our stuff off before going to the Muslim Quarter. We met our tour guide, Rocky, in the lobby. We followed his flag as he led us through the streets to the Muslim Quarter. The flag came in handy because the street was so crowded. Shops lines both sides as pedestrians, bikes, and cars passed through. There was a wide variety of food and trinkets for cheap. As we got closer to the center of the city, there were less cars and more people; we all had to watch our bags to avoid falling victim to pickpocketing.
At the center of the city, we went for dinner at a famous dumpling place and had a “dumpling banquet”. I was so excited to eat lots of dumplings because they are one of my favorite Chinese foods, and I didn’t have any dumplings in Beijing. We had a very wide variety of dumplings. The dumplings ranged in shape, size, and filling, and I loved every one of them. My friend and I also had to get a picture with the giant golden dumpling before we left.
After dinner, Rocky told us how the drum and bell towers were used to keep time, and then we went into the drum tower. The drums were very large, and the building was had some artifacts in it as well. There was a great view of the city streets from the top.
On the way back, the sun had set and the Muslim Quarter looked even better with all the lights on; it was at least three times as crowded compared to earlier when we were walking towards the center. There were so many things in the streets that I wanted to try. Rocky led us back to the hotel just so we would be able to find our way back on our own in the future; we’re going to have more time in the market this weekend.
Once we got back to the hotel, I was pretty tired, so I went to look around the hotel a little bit with friends. Some of the guys jumped in the pool and promptly got kicked out for not wearing swim caps, and then we played some ping pong. I went to bed pretty early to catch up on rest.