This journal entry comes to you from Xian, as the group just arrived here this morning after a 12-hour overnight train trip from Beijing. The group consists of 10 passengers from all over the world - England, Ireland, Australia, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland, and Belgium. There are two of us accompanying the trip as new leaders, and we’re trying to learn the ropes from an experienced leader.
We spent the first few days in Beijing, checking out the sites there. This tour has a lot of free time for the passengers, so they can go see what they like. I took the opportunity to head out to the Summer Palace one day, and the Forbidden City on another. Nights were spent attending a Kung Fu show one evening, eating Peking Duck another, and visiting a few of the watering holes and clubs. It was great to finally see what Beijing has to offer, and I think I’ll enjoy exploring even more on subsequent trips.
We next took a bus for the 3 1/2 hour trip to the Great Wall, where we climbed up at a place called Jingshanling. We walked the roller-coaster wall for 10 kms to Simatai, and it was excellent - even better than I’d expected. We were able to see renovated sections, as well as many original sections. The best part was that we had the wall completely to ourselves - except for our shadows…locals who were attempting to sell us postcards, books, t-shirts, etc. It was an excellent day on the wall, and it’s always rewarding when something lives up to, or even exceeds, expectations. Hopefully next time I lead the Wall I’ll have my camera, and so will be able to pass along some photos to you.
After catching the bus back to Beijing we simply grabbed some food for the train trip here to Xian. Today was a free day, as is tomorrow. The following day we’ll head out to see the Terracotta Warriors, before coming back to Xian and boarding an overnight train for Shanghai.
My schedule has recently changed, which is going to keep me hopping. I’ll be leading three back-to-back trips starting on April 16, but I guess that’s why I took this job, so I better learn it and get after it. Should be good.
Well, I’m going to head out and explore, so I’ll end this here.