We had an easy, uneventful trip back to Hangzhou this morning. We rented the hotel limo service to take us back to the Xi'An airport, a 1 hour ride for the 5 of us for $24 US. Then an airport employee met us at the door of the airport, took our tickets and passports, checked us in and walked us to the security gate - totally stress free! Then an uneventful flight where I practiced my Chinese with some other passengers and Sophie practiced her smiles. The boys found a girl near their age who had the same Gameboy so they played together the during the entire flight. Next we hopped in a cab for the 1 hour trip from the airport to our apartment. We walked in the door and the ayi had already been here - the apartment was sparkling clean and the laundry had been done. Yes!
Many small banzai trees decorate the decks of the Bell Tower.
Of course one of the main features of the Bell Tower is, of course, its bell! For a mere 20 quai you can ring it 6 times, so the boys wanted to give it their all, for all of Xi'An to hear, and I think they did!
Peter, going for the biggest GONG that has ever been heard in 600 years!
This little Chinese tourist got dressed up in local garb after her parents paid the fee, and had her picture taken. She was so cute, I couldn't resist getting one too!
Looking across the plaza from the Bell tower is the Drum Tower. You can barely make out two drums on the 1st level through all of the pollution. The air the last two days in Xi'an was particularly bad. The number of people around was mind boggling!
However, we swam our way through the pollution so we could conquer the drum as well as the bell! The drum only cost 5 quai for 3 whacks, however the "drumkeeper" took a liking to the kids and let them each have unlimited whacks. My ears are still reverberating.
I was hoping that Jack wouldn't create an embarrassing situation by breaking the drum skin! He went for it with gusto - the drumkeeper (pictured left) didn't seem to mind!
Sophie had her turn with many free whacks. Once again she got by on her cuteness!
This gal was from Chongqing, and was travelling by herself all over China - Beijing, Shanghai, Xi'an and many other places during the holiday. I thought she was very adventurous. We visited with her for awhile since her English was so good.
Inside the Drum Tower are many samples of artfully painted drums.
We were lucky to arrive in time for a drum demonstration with drummers and soldiers in full regalia.
Now that we're back home again, it's back to lesson planning for Monday and Tuesday. It was a fun vacation, but we're glad to be back in Hangzhou again where the air is cleaner and we know our way around more.