Tuesday, May 10 – Arrival and Sightseeing in Xi’an

At about 9:00 in the morning, our host in Xi’an, Clarence Guo, was waiting for us, in the rain, despite the fact that we were almost two hours late!  He greeted us, and we went to retrieve our bikes from the luggage area.  This is when we discovered that they would not arrive until later in the day, at the truck depot outside of town.  Standing in the pouring rain, we decided to go to the apartment that we were renting from Clarence for the next two days, and then figure out what to do.  

Clarence and his wife are busy entrepreneurs in Xi’an, in many ways typical of the new generation, putting together lots of small businesses that provide tourist services, often using the internet to advertise.  They rent several apartments in town, run a taxi service, and Clarence is also a well-known tour guide, with a self-published book about the Terracotta Warriors!  During the spring and summer tourist seasons, Clarence’s services are almost 100% booked, a testimony to the power of TripAdvisor, and all of the positive comments Clarence has received as both hotelier and tour guide.

We decide to take Clarence’s tour with a mother and daughter (she lives in a suburb of suburb of Shanghai,her mother is visiting from the U.S.), and pick up the bikes on the way back from the Terracotta Warriors.  

Clarence’s wife goes to the freight office before they close, by either taking a bus or getting a ride, claims the bikes for us, and then waits there for almost two hours for us to pick her up!  In the meantime, she decides to take the bike bags out of their freight boxes, and carry them to the curb to wait for us.  She does this perfectly, and when we finally arrive to pick her up, her energy is warm and pleasant, not annoyed she had to wait so long, or stand outside waiting.  

Clarence and his wife are both “YES” people, always looking for ways to make things happen, to figure out how something that their clients need can get done.  Such a pleasure to work with!  And so unlike the “NO” people that are tough to work with, always coming up with reasons that something can’t happen.  I always try to avoid doing business with “NO” people, if if their prices are low.  I want to support those who make going through life a little bit easier!

We tour the Temple of the Eight Immortals, a typical cave village, and the Terracotta Warriors.  We spend the evening walking around the Muslim Quarter, and night market.  We have a dinner of delicious fresh noodles and vegetables with chili oil for seven RMB (about USD $1) each.    

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About juleslandsman

I live, when not traveling, in Sweetwater, Colorado, located in between Vail and Aspen, and in Kohukohu, a small town on the Hokianga Harbour in New Zealand. I write travelogues, memoirs, and reflections when I'm not skiing, biking, or otherwise outdoors. I retired recently from a career in the financial services industry that spanned more than twenty-five years.
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