We went back to the hostel and met the rest of the vols sitting in the restaurant. We exchanged stories and heard what everyone had been up to - some highlights included hearing that Jony and a few others had been chased by a man in a tuc-tuc after he tried to scam them so they ran away. They made it to a waiting cab which they dove into but not before the tuc-tuc driver had appeared at the window and spat in Jony's face. What a charming man, at least it made for an amusing story. Anyway, we went off to freshen up and the boyband reappeared in matching shirts. We headed down to the bar where we got chatting to some other foreigners; I was sitting between a man from somewhere in China who, despite his lack of English, was extremely enthusiastic and a really nice girl from Hong Kong on my left. Between them they taught me a little bit of Cantonese. Opposite me was Pete who ended up sitting with me and together we sang lots of Irish songs much to the amusement of the rest of the table; two American women, a man from Canada and I can't remember who else. The Canadian was cool though - he never stayed at the table but instead kept disappearing to the bar where he would return each time with an entire tray of tequila shots. Between the table we made it through a lot of trays courtesy of the Canadian and it wasn't long before they revealed they knew where a really good club was. We were happy to hear that - we'd spent all of the previous evening looking for a half decent club or bar but the Chinese don't really have clubs or bars. So it was that a group of us went with our fellow aliens and headed to this club and it was brilliant. Of course most of the men in there were aging and wealthy and very obviously hitting on many of the young women who we're fairly sure were prostitutes… but there were quite a few other people in there as well and we spent the rest of the night dancing up on the podiums and going a bit mental. People kept buying drinks for us and everyone on the dance floor wanted to dance with us - this meant we could pull whatever stupid dance move we wanted to and inevitably the Chinese people would copy us to fit in haha.
We returned in the early hours because some of the people had a train to catch. This meant Naomi, Jess and Alex had to help a pretty out of it Nold to the train station where I understand he was pretty hilarious. The rest of us went to bed - the Jiangxi people's train wasn't until 11 that night. On our final day in Xi'an the girls woke up early to go and see the Terracotta Warriors which they hadn't made it to yesterday and the lads headed back to the Muslim quarter where we bought loads of stuff. I perfected my haggling techniques; I've now mastered very bad and very basic Chinese flirting for female stallholders, the 'I'm not interested' walk out of a stall, the puppy dog eyes that say 'I'm a poor student with no money for your prices,' angry shouts of 'ta guala,' and various Chinese numbers. These skills are essential for bargain buys in a Chinese market and they worked a treat. Naturally, when the stallholders saw white people they named stupid prices but as soon as we told them, in Chinese, that it was too expensive they changed their tack and started to haggle sensibly. I had to be careful because I already had an insane amount of luggage to somehow carry across China. Every single lad bought a pair of Dr Dre beats - it cost me the equivalent of £22 (after haggling down from 600Y/£60!) which we were loving because they cost hundreds in the UK. Ok so they're probably fakes but if they are then they're brilliant fakes - the sound quality is amazing! All the packaging looked extremely legit and we couldn't find any faults so we came to the conclusion they're probably stolen. Didn't think about until after we bought them though oops. I also bought an 'I love Xi'an' t-shirt, two chess sets, a Chinese cap, a wicked hand carved and painted Chinese mask (I checked, it's made from wood and you can see the defects from where it's been carved and the paint work is also obviously hand done….), a couple of bracelets for people back home (I only made it back to Yihuang with one though…), a fleecy jacket and some socks. We got chatting to a couple of stallholders and we were very pleased to hear them say some of our stuff was very very cheap even by Chinese standards. Most stallholders ask how much it cost then tell you they would have done cheaper and we were stupid but this is just a ruse to get you to buy from them. A stallholder and an English teacher in my school said they'd pay 40Y for my hat - I bought it for 13y! A girl in my school with the same hat bought it for 35Y haha. It became a challenge if someone bought something to try and get it cheaper from a different stall and we became quite good at it. It was far easier in this market because it didn't matter if the Chinese weren't happy with the price - I walked away from every stall multiple times and if they wanted to sell it they'd chase you shouting cheaper prices.
We sampled our last Subway for a long time for dinner then prepared ourselves to catch the train at 23:00. We had decent beds and the long journey home had begun although our huge amounts of luggage were a bit of a hindrance. We arrived in Nanchang the next evening where we had booked a hostel and stayed the night there before getting another train back to Chongren then next day. Once again, Rob and I had to spend the night in Chongren and then got the train back to Yihuang the next day. We certainly didn't waste our time in the girl's hometown though - we found a stall selling pokemon cards which brought nostalgic excitement to Beth, Rob and I. Five pence a packet saw us buy a few each and I got lucky and got better cards than the other two - two Charizards to the envy of Beth! We compared them excitedly while walking around Chongren and evenutally a moody Cat went to the hospital with Mrs Mung to have her finger looked at (turns out there was nothing wrong after all). We finished off the time in Chongren by watching Elf on Cat's laptop - one of the greatest films of all time. Finally, Rob and I got back to Yihuang and we were extremely pleased to be home - it really does feel like home now! We had been travelling for around three days and it was nice to switch off and be in our own flat again.
Well that's our travels finished this time - finally! Sorry if they became a bit laboured towards the end I'll upload some better blog entries from Yihuang soon, it was a bit of a chore going back through two weeks' worth of travelling. We had a wicked time though and I'll get pictures up soon!