Its official, I am DONE with Xi’an. I cannot wait to get out of this city.
To be fair, its not entirely the city’s fault, I’m not in the best of moods – woke up at 5 and spent a good chunk of the early morning throwing up. That cold might actually be food poisoning…or a mix of both, hard to say. Knew my sensitive stomach had been too well behaved.
As such, it takes a pretty herculean effort to get me out of bed that morning (and no shortage of cold pills/ibuprofen). However, I’d left the city wall for today, and it had been on the to do list for Xi’an, so got myself up and over to the South Gate for today’s entertainment. Paid the 54 yuan entry fee, and once up there, made a beeline for the bikes.
However, here’s where I got my nasty surprise of the day. Not only are the bikes another 40 yuan to rent for 100 minutes (for comparison, it costs 5 yuan to rent for an hour in the city), but you have to leave a 200 yuan deposit for the damn thing. Which is more than I carry on me at any given time anyway, and there’s no ATM. So no bike ride along the wall for under-the-weather me.
Instead, I walk the wall – which takes me the better part of 2 1/2 hours at least. It’s an interesting walk – I’ll give it that, and there’s a museum that takes you down to see part of the original packed mud wall that was preserved by the new brick one almost by accident. However, it’s clearly a much better trip via bike, and I wasn’t feeling too generous to Xi’An for making it a financial impossibility.
And as an added annoyance? They don’t even advertise the price to prepare you. No hostel or even the ticket office had any idea how much it was to rent bikes or go up the wall. If I’d at least been warned about the deposit I could have made sure I had the money.
On the plus side, they make sure you get your money’s worth in a walk. The wall is huge, over 13.7km, and as I said, takes a few hours to cross in completion. By the time I was heading home I was starting to limp on one foot due to damage on my heel (feet are starting to express their displeasure at spending nearly a month in hiking boots), and my med’s are wearing off, so go back up to my room, pack up my stuff (opposite bed checked out this morning so I have a whole spare bed next to me to dump stuff on, yay!), and ponder what to do next. Considering the shape of my heel, and the fact that my health is quickly deteriorating at a visible pace? I end up going to bed, and sleeping the rest of the late afternoon away.
(ended up waking up at 3am when a late arrival comes in and has to move my stuff off her bed – to be fair, there were plenty of beds, she didn’t HAVE to take that one…)