Hotel CourtyardThe power failed sometime in the night and this would not have been a problem however it seems that the water supply requires electricity. Luckily shortly before we were due to check out some power was restored, not apparently enough for the internet to work so we could send email to the family but enough for a shower and and urgent flush of the loo....

Pingyao is a walled town and the walls are as far as we could tell complete, note the usual caveat that these walls have been extensively 'repaired' applies. We walked around the top of the wall from the North gate to the East getting a splendid view over the town including what appeared to be a very nasty prison.

From there there were several temples (Taoist and Confucius) a 'city of hell', another Buddhist the old city Hall (I think), the first bank in China and several businessman's houses. I could be wrong about any or all of these and to tell the truth there is a great similarity between them. With tired legs it gets progressively harder to maintain an interested appearance :)
The town is notable for the number and type of bicycles that constantly appear in front and from behind. Many of these are dead silent electric models which I suspect could do quite an injury the speed some go at.

Outside resturantThe other part is how wonderfully polite and friendly the people are. Almost uniformly we have had  pleasant experiences, in the main even the touts take no for an answer and go about their business molesting other visitors. One fun part is that at the Confucius temple we were spotted by two tour groups of visitors who have obviously not seen many white people. Mary and I, in the company of the residents, have been captured on film and grace the walls of several yurts in what we will assume to be Ulan Bator or some such remote fastness.

Fortunately there was an excellent lunch at last nights dinner spot and an afternoon 'char' (tea) at the hotel which at least briefly restored our enthusiasm. Part way through lunch the thunder started and the rain fell so we had to hurriedly decamp inside, the afternoon was interspersed with showers and turned quite cold. enough to warrant the polar fleece in fact.

Finally it got to dinner time, we have enjoyed David's choice of restaurants and dishes plus his presence has dropped the costs to just a few dollars (NZ$25 for three seems typical). This final meal  no disappointment.

An electric buggy ride took us to the station and David loaded us onto the huge train. I'd feel more comfortable if I knew how we'll tell when we've arrived at Xian! (English letters have long since disappeared from the signposts.

Funeral procession - oh dearSome messing about and some 'help' from the locals got us into a cabin with two locals, we'll call them Mr & Mrs Yu for convenience. Mrs Yu was keen on a conversation as it seems Mr Yu is not talking to her being intent on sleeping and listening to his radio. This was pretty much a disappointment as we had to rebuff what we took to be Mrs Yu's conversational gambits with “sorry we don't speak Chinese”.

Ho Hum, 9pm and no beer (I remembered about the bogs on Indian trains, you think these will be better? No, me neither) and ten hours to run.