The first part of my journey was to meet Ed in San Diego, then fly to Bejing from LAX the next day. Our first flight was delayed so when we finally got to Bejing we had 8 hours before out next flight to Xi'an. After arriving in Xi'an, we had a busy day ahead of us. Johnny helped negotiate a room for us that wasn't terrible. The 3rd hotel he checked was the one. After he negotiated the price for the stay, he showed us the room. A small room with a half working AC, bamboo mat beds, and the worst bathroom I had seen up to that point.
Because of Johnny, me and Ed met with many rich business owners who took us to lavish shows, dinners, and clubs. While we were with Johnny and the rich guys, things were really cool, on our own, things were a very very different story. In the not rich part of Xi'an, the streets smell of sewage, garbage, food, animals, and vehicle exhaust. There were equally as many sounds. It didn't really matter what time we went out - noon, 3am, 6pm - everything was happening.
The absolute biggest thing I noticed, was that despite what American media portrays, the Chinese people absolutely loved me and Ed, simply because we are American. The rich Chinese guys spent many many thousands on food, drinks, cigarettes, and shows for us. The street food workers, restaurants owners, and shop keepers always smiled, were very helpful, and tried to talk to us, in Mandarin of course, even though we couldn't talk back. It was an intimate look at a very different place.