Wednesday, July 13, 2011

10 May: Xi'an

Woke up at 7am this morning to get out by 08:30, off on a mission to see the Terracotta Army. We caught a local bus from South Gate to the train station where we caught another bus out to the site.

It was another pretty miserable grey and drizzly day. But, no worries cause the Warriors are all indoors :)

The place is surrounded by loads of touristy type shops (of course) and the entrance gives no indication of what is to come. We hired a local guide (between 4 of us it was cheaper than an audio guide each) and set off on golf carts.

We got a bit of the history, but to be honest I'm still not clear on all the Chinese Dynasty's and how long ago they all were and who was emperor when etc.

I'm also still pretty confused (after yesterday and today's visits) as to why things are buried miles away from the actual tomb mounds (or outside them at all?). And why no one seems that interested in the human remains (seems quite contrary to Egypt with all their mummies). I would've thought that'd be equally interesting ...?

Anyway, Pit 1 is exactly like all the photos you see, but to stand in it and look out across at the vast number of life-sized and unique statues is something else! It's such a pity you can't get closer, they are all fascinating.

What is really appealing to me is wondering how different it'll all be if you visited again in 30yrs, since it has only been 36yrs since it was first discovered at all and there are archaeologists working constantly at the site (and surroundings, no doubt). Just imagine the progress! (I wonder the same about what the progress at the Han Yang Ling site would be too, actually).

It completely boggles my mind, the scale at which these emperors were doing things 2000 years ago. And it's quite awesome to think that these warriors have achieved a sense of longevity in the sense that we know what they all looked like.

Anyway, Pit 2 has not had much dug up yet and Pit 3 is quite interesting to compare because of the different types of people in it and it is so much smaller.

All in all *amazing* and we did head back for a 2nd look at Pit 1 after our guide had taken us for the obligatory shopping stop. I didn't buy any jade, it was super expensive.

We also wandered thru the museum which has pieces from other places they've excavated including 2 bronze chariots. Although 1 was just a replica because the original is in Shanghai. That's the other cool thing about the abundance of warriors. Plenty can go to other museums around the world for display. Quite a unique ability, I'd think.

Eventually we headed home (on the same 2 buses), but after a quick stop at Subway for lunch. Yes, exactly the same as home (but better than McDs, at least).

So, we had some more time to wander Xi'an before our evening plans. I splurged on a Hello Panda top :) And ended up in a more local mall looking at lots of adorable baby bunnies in a pet shop (it is the year of the rabbit, you know). I also tried a Peach Fanta. It has a pink label and the liquid is a dusty clear colour.

In the evening we'd booked to go see a show and have a dumpling buffet. It was fab! The show was called Tang Dynasty Palace Music and Dances and was 10 different dances and music typical of the Tang Dynasty (still not sure when exactly that was). I enjoyed it far more than I expected.


The dumpling dinner was less of a buffet and more just a sample of a wide variety of dumplings. I think we had about 25 different ones each by the end. They were all quite yummy, except the boiled one.

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