Lesley in Xi'an
I don't have any fabulous photos from my recent trip to Xi'an. The main reason is that the 3-day workshop itinerary was jam-packed. On the one morning we hoped to cycle around on top of the old city wall, it was pouring with rain.

Besides the interesting and active session plans organised by the PO and volunteers, the highlights were: Getting together with all the Basic Education volunteers currently working in China, including the new arrivals; having time to get to know other volunteers better (at previous conferences, with larger groups including our local partners, there hasn't always been the same chance to talk); the kindness of other volunteers regarding my Jingdong book and my Friendship Award; hearing from Hongyan that we'll be staying in a 5-star hotel; trying out new food dishes, typical of the North but rarely on our table in Yunnan - most of them containing enormous quantities of garlic; wandering around the Muslim food and craft sector of the old city and chatting over beer in a bustling restaurant; a corn seller and other locals on the street sorting out what bus we should take back to our hotel after our night out; the bus driver taking a wrong turn [perhaps following another route] and the other passengers sorting him out; our journey back home - we were delayed from Xi'an and nearly missed our connection to Simao. They held the plane up and we were escorted to it in a little van with a flashing light. All very exciting.

The lowlights were: Not having enough time to catch up with people, knowing that it will be a long time until we meet again; the smoggy, noisy, horrible walk with Tina on our first afternoon - we both returned to our room smelling of pollution and fighting off a headache; always having garlic breath; gradually losing my voice - although I'm sure everyone else was pleased.

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