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Magical mystery tours

Impromptu tour of the Xi’an suburbs as we try to catch our Bangkok flight

sunny 33 °C

Xi’an, China to Bangkok, Thailand

Our travel day from China to Thailand begins with a frustrating taxi ride to Xi’an airport. Stopping for a quick Compressed Natural Gas refill our taxi driver appears intent on driving in circles, avoiding any roads that lead to the airport. With little time to spare and with no desire to extend this magical mystery tour his dispatcher on a cell phone demands that we pay a flat rate to the airport (which we can guarantee will be more than the meter) I am in no mood to placate or pacify. Making the need for us to arrive at the airport, in the extremely near future, using the taxi’s perfectly serviceable meter more than apparent we soon enter the freeway for what should have been a forty minute drive to the out of town airport. Arriving, after much longer than this but for considerably less than the dispatcher offered rate we are soon checked in and on our way to Bangkok.

A week in China is a short time but with the ungracious attitude of the Chinese people, when en masse, it is as much as we can take. Individually, there are few nationalities politer. Even when a common means of communication is not available smiles and gestures nearly always become apparent. Yet this observation fades into oblivion when the Chinese are grouped together or behind the wheel of any form of motorized vehicle. At that point all courtesy is dropped and a survival instinct takes over. These bad manners soon become contagious and it is often all too easy to drop one’s own behavior to that of the surrounding mass.

Our remaining travels in SE Asia should remove these unwanted tendencies quickly. With the volume of people now resident in China one can certainly understand the attitudes that prevail. However, it does not make for pleasant and enjoyable travelling. The sounds and sights of China or often both fascinating and intriguing. Yet the attitude of those tourist hordes, at this peak tourist time, detract for nearly every activity that is undertaken. When considering a future trip to China we will certainly try to visit during the off season or if unavoidable make sure we sharpen our elbows in preparation for pushing in the inevitable unruly crowds that we will find.

Posted by jamesh1066 16:02 Archived in Thailand

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