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relocating in xi'an

After a debilitating weeklong illness and remaining confined to our room (albeit lovely room, plus ensuite -thank goodness) at Warriors Hostel, we decided that although we weren’t well enough to hop on another night train just yet, it was time for a change of scene. We had barely seen any of Xi'an anyway, and our wallets would appreciate the change of accommodation. So, this morning, Ryan’s tummy still funny and my head still fuzzy, we bid our goodbyes to the lovely staff at Warriors Hostel, our broken toilet seat, and the flowery panelled ceiling that we had stared at all week, lying immobile in that damn bed thinking up our own burials with terracotta warriors. For a “fresh start” in Xi'an we booked a room with Haoji Apartments, a family run business letting up rooms in standard apartments of local Chinese people in the outskirts of the city. We pedalled around asking anyone and everyone for directions (thank goodness for the directions in mandarin provided by booking.com), when finally a lady gestured for a young man on the street to walk us to the place. We wouldn’t have found it on our own. There is no signage in English, and the Chinese characters aren’t even visible from the main street. We entered, hesitantly, an apartment complex, led to the first building, and tentatively rode the elevator to the sixth floor, as specified on booking.com. I waited around for a while as some people crammed their motorbikes into the elevators. Finally, I made it to the sixth floor and found the “office” of the apartment rental, a small room with a computer desk, a bed, and a naked toddler playing on an android phone. We were led to our room, bikes as well (up the elevator, crammed in with all the other residents of the building), and made our grand entrance by breaking a glass table in our room within the first couple minutes of getting in. Heavily apologetic, the incident was brushed aside by the kind owners and the shattered glass was brushed off the floor. We insisted on paying for a replacement, in turn getting the Bing translation for “don’t take it to heart, no problem.” So here we are, in a room of an apartment, our bikes propped up against the extra bed, sharing the bathroom with neighbouring Chinese families, in a relatively run down condominium in Xi'an, a spa in the next room, and some offices on the floor above us. There are 3D pink flower stickers on the walls. Where are we? What is this place? This trip doesn’t stop getting ridiculous.

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