I was up early and launching in to things in the morning. Early starts are a way of life in China. If you’re not up early you miss out on a decent breakfast (all the street food vendors pack up and leave), plus the buns all go cold. This leaves you with the option of mediocre and expensive restaurant food or waiting for lunchtime.
I met a massive group of 90 Chinese architecture students, all of whom thought it would be a good idea for me to tag along on their school excursion. This was pretty hilarious as they included me in everything, including school photos. There must be a bunch of photos in their university with me as the token white guy, which I think is pretty funny. They were all very nice though and we had a laugh as we all checked out the main attractions in central Xi’an.
The school is surprisingly controlled and orderly for an old group of students. They’re all 18–20 which in Australia makes you an adult. Here they still had regular roll calls to make sure everyone is there, along with a student hierarchy and the teachers as a leadership structure.
I tried this frozen yogurt stuff, which was really interesting. I didn’t know what it was, so when the guy poured the yogurt on a metal surface I assumed he was cooking it. The metal was actually insanely cold and he added jam and nuts to the yogurt to make a frozen dessert. It was actually pretty nice but amazingly cold, much colder than any ice cream I’ve had back home.
For lunch we had these amazingly long and wide noodles, this was very entertaining for the students I was traveling with as my poor chopstick skills were put to the test.
Finally we went to the art gallery. Normally I dislike galleries, finding them to be rather boring and pretentious but China managed to inject enough chaos and excitement in to the place that I actually found it pretty cool! There were people in teams of two racing every which way with paintings wrapped in bubble wrap – always almost colliding with doorways and other paintings, swearing at each other as it happened. Over the entryway there were four guys all trying to hang up a banner. They clearly had no idea what they where doing, dropping spanners and screws on the the concrete down below. Overall it was a pretty mad scene, which was a very fun and memorable experience. I certainly wouldn’t have gotten that opportunity if I hadn’t run into the students at my hostel either, so that was a very lucky coincidence all round!