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The wackiness started as soon as Dave and I got off the truck in front of the Great Wall. Within half an hour we were in a swish hotel room not far from the the train station being offered “beautiful girls for making love.” We’d just shelled out about $50 in Chinese yuan for train tickets to Xi’an and were looking for a place to crash, a place that wasn’t going to break the bank. We stopped in at the fancy hotel on the corner of the main drag to check prices, you know, just in case. The rooms seemed unreasonably cheap for the quality of the hotel. Something had to give, and we figured it would be us, from our wallets, but the place was worth the risk.

Enacting a little caution, we chose to have a look at one of the rooms before signing any papers. They were quite nice, a bargain at the price being asked. When we started waving our hands at the conspicuous lack of a shower, the concierge started pointed down, down, as if to indicate a lower floor. We figured there’d be some manky shared bathroom down a flight of stairs, a setup we’d seen elsewhere. Still, the room was immaculate, and we were sold. When we got off the elevator in the lobby, the concierge led us toward a set of stairs rather than back toward the reception desk. Shortly, we knew what all the pointing was about.

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