We wake in Xi’an and look out on the Bell Tower, a 14th century brick pagoda directly across the street. Apparently, the bronze bell within used to ring at dawn, a sound I’d much prefer to the 1960s switchboard buzz that was our wake up call.
Already deeply fatigued, the rainy, 2-hour ride from the airport to the Hong Zhu Hotel (cold and a bit down at the heels), makes us want to go fetal under the covers. No sooner do we dive into bed than a thousand roosters (okay, maybe three or four) who seem very close by begin to crow and continue through the night. The kids don't hear a thing; they're dreaming of Pandas.