Let me start by saying – yes we lost the kids, but we found them again – it was a terrifying experience and we have been dining out on it ever since.
S0 its early April 2012 and we’re on a family vacation in China – the first overseas holiday – we are not expert international travellers by any standard. We arrived in Xian after spending a few days in Beijing and our first organised trip was a tour of the original city walls from the ancient city.
Xian is an amazing place and the old city walls are spectacular to say the least, 18 meters wide and 12 meters high they surround an area of approximately 14 square kilometres. Beautifully maintained and a popular tourist spot the modern city provides a complimentary backdrop to these ancient fortifications.
Our tour operator had organised bike hire for us all so we could travel the perimeter at our leisure. Rai and I were excited as neither of us had ridden push bikes for well over a decade. Definitely the best way to tour the walls, the paving is smooth and you end up zig zagging back and forth in an attempt not to miss anything.
I gave the boys some money to buy ice creams and they never returned.
At one point around midway we stopped for a breather and the boys spotted a stall selling drinks and ice creams. I gave them some money and they rode off to get refreshments. While they were gone I walked around happily snapping photos while Rai did her own thing. That’s when things got exciting. The boys didn’t return.
We had stopped at a guard house which conveniently now serves as a toilet block. When the boys returned we were on one side and they were on the other. Not seeing us they assumed we had continued on and decided to catch up. Were were however sitting on the other side of the building waiting for them to get back.
After a few minutes we realised they were missing and panic struck. We rode around in circles for a few minutes trying to locate them. Then, realising they were not close by, we set out after them figuring out what they had done.
We didn’t see much of the scenery after that, mostly blurred street paving and people whizzing by. The boys, thinking we were in front of them, had set off at record speed to catch us up and they had a good 5 minute head start. We had no chance.
As we approached the store where we had picked up the bikes we could see the two boys, they were OK standing beside our tour guide who I believe was the most relieved of all to have the family back together.
It’s funny, now it’s over.