Friday, July 13, 2012

China: Pearl Market and Sleeper Train to Xian

We were kind of in a hurry because we also wanted to go to the Pearl Market (Hong Qiao) They have a ton of pearls for super cheap and a ton of other cool souvenirs for cheap. To get there take subway line 5 to Tiantandongmen Station and go through the North East Exit, and you should see it in front of you. The pearls were on the 2nd or 3rd floor. To tell if their real, ask them to scratch them. If they're real you can scratch off some pearl-ness, but they won't looked like they've been scratched at all. They'll still look beautiful and shiny.

 The market was a lot of fun, and after overpaying for a teapot set Hal got in his bargaining groove and we got better prices on things. The biggest tip I can give is to think of how much you are willing to pay and don't move from there. They'll just keep coming down. For some chopsticks, the lady wanted 150 RMB, and we ended up paying 35 RMB for it. Just stick to your guns and they'll come way down.

We got back on the subway and made it to pick up our bags. We were hoping to get to the station almost an hour early. Because the subway takes a deceivingly long time we were running behind. We even took a bus from the subway line Military Station to the Beijing West Railway Station to save time. We ran through the station until I thought I couldn't run anymore. The gate was closing and we just made it inside. We ran to each train car and were told to go to the next (silly us didn't look at the ticket to see which car we were in) and we literally made it on the train with a minute to spare before it pulled out. Call us the last minute Morgans.

We took a hard sleeper to Xian and since we didn't buy our tickets early enough we were on the top bunk where there's not enough room to sit up all the way. We made some friends with some little kids on the train. They spoke a tiny bit of English. I was so surprised when the little girl said to me "no body loves me, not even my mother." Who in the world taught her that?

After about on hour on the train and we had made friendlies with this adorable family, I told Hal I thought we were "train folk." He disagreed, but after our next train ride...I think you have to admit that we are basically train folk.

We were pretty close to the door of the train car where everyone went to smoke, and since the doors were open the smoke just came into the train car. I hate the smell of smoke! Hal ended up shutting the door a bunch of times to try and keep it out. The train ride went fine and we both got a few hours of sleep on our 11 hour train ride.

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