David was wrong about the attendants on the train, he said they would come around and make up the bed. They kept themselves to themselves and looked stern whenever I went past. I left them well alone.
By 9:15 Mr & Mrs Yu were firmly asleep and there was little choice but to join them in the land of nod, I read for a bit but that was too hard by the very dim light. The train started and stopped continually with huge clanking and banging and eventually the very lengthy announcements stopped, I presume the guards were telling us their life stories or some local legends about each stop. In any case at 1am we both gave in and had sleeping tablets.
The night passed, slowly, and we were ready for the arrival at 7:45. Surprisingly it was over an hour late, I'd heard that Communists could get them to run on time but apparently not. We sat outside Xian for most of the time. Despit this, our new guide, Wendy, was waiting in the melee outside the station and took us directly to the hotel for a very welcome shower and breakfast. I'd have to say I'm really pleased with the Sinoway organisation, the arrangements have been (so far) impeccable.
A tour of the Xian city wall, Museum of Stone Tablets and the Shaanxi Museum were all excellent although I'd have perhaps liked longer to appreciate the sheer scale of the city wall which is vast. Lunch was another disappointing tourist barn buffet which does no one any favours and lets down the Chinese badly. Why send tourist home with a poor impression when you could easily make it stellar?
Like most of the guides Wendy has been very interested in us and on learning that we have been married 33 years and my parents 60 years, she asked for advice on whether she should get married. Something of a first I think.
It's been very hot here today, quite a surprise after yesterdays rain and wind. The Hyatt does not boast a pool which is a pity, a swim is exactly what we need, instead we got to do laundry in the bathroom, boy some of our stuff is dirty, there is a heap of dirt in the air here.
Wendy has sold us on going to an imperial dumpling dinner and show tonight, Lord knows what that's going to be like but my expectations are low and if there are acrobatics I shall scream.
The dumpling dinner was nice enough but mass fare and rather bland to my taste. There were four Ozzies next to us and they were a bit of fun, we asked them about the what they were doing (they live 500km inland from Sydney, not quite in the outback and are planing an assault on the Silk Road with an outfit called 'Peregrine Tours') They talked glibly of such exotic places as Dubbo and we asked they about our proposed Darwin to Cairns excursion. They suggested we go into NSW.
Anyway I think the Tang Emperors would have been deeply disappointed at the Vegas style interpretation of their art. The Lonely Planets somewhat cool endorsement of the Shaanxi Grand Opera House is quite justified. Many would enjoy it but not me. I found it over long (it wasn't really) and not at all to my taste.