Monday, August 20, 2007

Day Six (7/31/07)

Today was a day of complete opposites. We began the day still stranded in Beijing, but we all received a call at 5:00 in the morning telling us to meet in the lobby at 7:30 a.m. to go to the airport. When we all assembled in the lobby at 7:30, we were told that we were bumped off the flight which normally wouldn't be so bad except for the fact that we all turned in our room keys and thus couldn't go back to bed. So we basically waited in the lobby until noon when we got lunch and then boarded the bus to the airport at 1:00. When we arrived at the airport I was amazed. I have never seen anything as crowded as the airport when we got there. It looked like a refugee camp.

Our plane was scheduled to depart at 2:30, but we didn't take off until 4:30. We were all tired, disappointed, and upset when we landed in Xi'an, but our mood soon changed. We made it very clear that we wanted to see the Terra Cota warriors in Xi'an and the tour company paid $3000 for us to have the whole museum to ourselves. We headed straight from the plane to the Terra Cota museum and I was completely and absolutely blown away. I am sure having the museum to ourselves played a role in this, but I was mesmerized by how much time and effort was put in to make each warrior different than the other. At one point I sat down outside all by myself and just soaked in all the history. I have to say that this has been m favorite thing in China so far.

I guess it is time for me to give my observations:
1. The Beijing airport is not even close to being ready for the Olympics next year. The terminals are overcrowded, the lines are huge, and in some cases (like mine) you have to board an unairconditioned bus and drive 10 minutes to board the plane.
2. Social status and money are everything in China. Some of you may be asking why our flight was cancelled this morning, well it was because a man bribed the airline officials and he had more social clout than us. Also think for a moment that for $3000 we bribed our way into the 8th wonder of the world to get a personal tour.

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