For the most part I really haven’t planned my trips in China. I mean, I went to Guilin not knowing how I would get back to Chuzhou! I know the dates and have a place to stay and perhaps a list of what I want to see or do but no real itinerary at all. With Nanjing and Shaghai I had the option to visit many times so there was always a “next time.” Oh. I can do that next time. I felt absolutely no pressure to “see it all.” With Guilin I had a limited amount of time and a list of things I wanted to do but I still had enough time to relax a full day at Starbucks reading feminist articles while sipping a hot chocolate.
But with Xi’an its been completely different. First of all Xi’an was never supposed to happen. There just wasn’t enough time. When I learned that the term ended a week earlier than I though there was doubt in my mind where I would go. I started planning right away. The only option was a train at 12:35am from Nanjing and it would be an over eight hour ride. And it was sold out. But then I thought, “How do the Chinese not travel?” “Planes.” Google flights said a round trip would be about $300 but I knew SkyScanner would find a better deal. And they did. Only about $156.
But how long would I say? I had to return home for my job. But then I remembered I got an online job so I could work anywhere with wifi and some privacy! I could stay longer, it just meant I had to spend an evening teaching which wouldn’t be a problem at all. I would explore during the day, teach in the evening, and eat a delicious dinner after. I booked my plane tickets.
Next. Where to stay? The fact that I was teaching meant I had to have my own private room and stable wifi connection. Usually I just pick a decent enough hostel and haven’t had a problem but this time I reviewed and compared three hostels. After I booked, I emailed to confirm my room and wifi connection.
The top priority of this trip was seeing the Terracotta Warriors so I made sure I had a whole day free (no teaching!). Then I started looking up ideas on Pinterest and Trip Advisor and made a list of my top choices. I was even able to narrow down how I wanted to see a specific tower at night cause I thought it wold photograph better. I’ve never really pinned for a specific trip before. I have boards for specific countries I would like to visit but they are more for inspiration than planning. I think one factor in this is that Pinterest isn’t blocked in China. If I have a few minutes in between teaching I don’t have time to connect my VPN but I do have time to look at some pins!
I would leave for Xi’an on Monday morning so on Thursday I started looking at train tickets to Nanjing where I would be flying from. And then I remembered. The metro line in China closes at 11pm so my “late” night flight was basically a major fail. There would be no way to get to the station except by a taxi which is super expensive. And it looked like tickets were sold out too. I made the decision to fly out the next even though I got a very limited refund from my canceled ticket. But I was happy to deal with all this in the comfort of my own home in my pajamas than arriving at the Nanjing airport on Thursday night with no way to get back home with a huge ass backpack.
I was ready for Xi’an.