The same Chinese lady and her husband walk back early the next morning, and have a good laugh at Joe and I as we sit outside the car drinking our morning coffee, looking out over the valley of cornfields. She has a five minute conversation with us (which we don’t understand) about how her son owns the big house on the hill, and she’s going over there to pick peanuts, she also says that she’ll bring us back some peanuts if we’re still there when she comes back, but we have to go. We drive to Xi’an all day, with the usual near death experience of expressways – people pulling crazy overtaking manoeuvres then slowing down to take a photo of Bob, nearly killing everyone in their path.

We arrive, at our wits end, in the rain and darkness at our hostel. Thinking all is well, we park BOB on the street outside – just 20 meters or so from the hostel front door, and head out for dinner. We opt for a busy restaurant and are ushered upstairs where a big table of friends and laughing and yelling and downing Baijo (rice wine), but as we’re getting ready to leave, things get ugly, and the friends turn on each other and start a punch up, blocking the exit for about half an hour. It’s still pouring rain as we run back to the hostel, so we don’t do our usual final check of Bob. We’ve dropped our guard, which is the biggest mistake we’ve made yet