By: Stephanie Montgomery

Today has been a whirlwind, but the best thus far in our trip.  Early this morning I got talked into going on a bike ride around the city wall of old Xi’an. Rather than have another helping of breakfast I decided I should go.  It was the BEST decision.  The ride around the old city from up high was fantastic.

We saw the disparity between the old apartments on the inside and the high rises that surrounded the wall.  Strangely, we noticed that all the old apartments had solar panels on top while the newer apartments did not.  One in our group surmised that that is because the buildings on the inside need to generate their own electricity whereas those on the outside are hooked up to the grid.  We should ask about this tomorrow.  (Later we found out that these are solar panels, but are only used to heat water)

Later we visited the Xi’an Hi-Tech Development Zone.  These are zones dedicated by the central government for particular activities.  Samsung just committed to a $7 semiconductor project in the Zone.  It caters to high-talent employees of Fortune 500 companies that they hope to entice to start operations there.  No taxes. Free rent.  Good international schools.  We are meeting with two companies that are invested here – Applied Materials and Micron – tomorrow so hopefully we will find more about the incentives that drew them to the Zone.

This evening we saw the Wild Goose Pagoda, had great Indian food, and shopped in the market beside the Drum Tower.

The Pagoda was beautiful at both night and in the day.  And the Indian food was a nice break from the regular restaurants in this area.  After our dinner we wandered around the Pagoda.  About 50 Chinese people were doing line dancing in the square.  It was very interesting.  There were lots of tourists, but I didn’t see many Americans (the Pagoda is a tourist site for domestic Chinese travelers and for the Japanese).