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Monday, October 26, 2015

Lotus Pods, The Great Wall and KFC!

I finally slept and rejoiced in it! Although the hotel is excellent, albeit not in the city centre, the beds are hard. Thankfully, there is an excellent breakfast awaiting us. Western food!!
But, feeling better and perhaps pushing my luck, I tried a rather curious vegetable with the texture of turnip and the taste of a potato. But it was full of perfectly round holes. We soon learn it's lotus pod, the same thing that's in your dried arrangements. 

Don't google it. Most of the photos are disgusting. My photo didn't do it justice, so here is one from the internet.

Yup, those pretty things floating in swamps on which frogs sit. It soon becomes part of our diet. The Chinese harvest about half the plants in the fall. I had learned that yesterday at the Summer Palace, but due to my fatigue that day, I barely took it in.
We're off to the airport and our guide, Tom, gives us good and bad news. The bad news is our flight after the river cruise has been cancelled. The good news is that we will be taking the bullet train, a super fast train that can reach speeds of 350 kph, although we most likely will travel at 300 kph. Tom says that Sinorama Tours is losing money on this change, but he gets no sympathy from us. Sinorama gets free flights within China when they bring tourists in. The bullet train, with its $100 ticket to Wuhan, is a mere blip on the big picture, we're sure.
But this plane ride will take us to Xi'an, the city closest to the Terracotta Warriors, another must-see in China. At the airport, I see a beautiful cashmere jacket for only $2300, and am beginning to realize that the Chinese like to spend money. It's a status symbol to them.

We Westerners aren't as concerned for such, especially not when our guide appears with our lunches. Kentucky Fried Chicken sandwiches! Tom rocks!

From the plane, we spot the Great Wall of China. It's barely there, a thin white line snaking over the mountain ridge, but proving what Tom said, that it is NOT visible from space as the myth suggests. 

Still, it is amazing to see. Can you see it move from centre right down to centre bottom?
The airline has another surprise. It shows Just For Laughs, a comedy program from Montreal which is perfect for everyone, as it has no words, just comedy sketches mimed out for all to enjoy.
We arrive at a Holiday Inn, a much nicer one that we normally see in North America. And again, the hotel room is unique, with yet another big window between the main room and the bathroom, and again, the blind being on the outside, denying the bather the right to choose their level of privacy. 

Can you see my husband standing in the shower stall? A lovely room, but a weird set up.
Tomorrow we see the sights of Xi'an. I had never heard of the city before, but it's worth it for you to return to this blog. 


Diana said...

This is the first time I have logged into your blog Barbara, and I find it fascinating! Thank you for sharing.

barb phinney said...

Thank you Diana. I hope you'll read the back posts and drop by each day. There was a lot to talk about!