After a nearly 2-hour morning flight, did our intrepid Academy travelers stop for a rest as soon as they set foot in China’s original capitol city? Braving the blistering 97-degree heat, they boarded buses and headed straight for the Shaanxi Provincial History Museum, while local travel managers took all luggage to the hotel and took care of check-in. Immediately immersed in the incredible history of Xi’an, we saw artifacts from as much as 150,000 years ago and reproductions of human skull fragments that date back more than 1 million years.
As we left the museum, a remarkable sight greeted us: a string of 100 miniature kites in the sky.
After a lunch of dumplings (famous in Xi’an, but not unlike dim sum for San Franciscans), we visited the Great Mosque, an interesting amalgam of Chinese and Muslim design where Muhammad Ali once prayed.
After spending time at the Mosque, we finally retreated back to the blissfully air-conditioned bus and headed for our hotel, where our luggage awaited in our rooms, delivered as promised. Drained by the heat, the crowds, the traffic, the hucksters, and the beggars, it was good to have an opportunity to rest and refresh ourselves. I still had to give my first of two talks, this one describing achievements in the astronomy of ancient China, followed by dinner and what should’ve been an early bedtime…except I have to do this blog. Hoping, however, that our changing fortunes with the weather are a good sign for eclipse day.