China Day 7: Terra Cota Fun

This morning we awoke in Xi’an, China!! After a bit of a rough night, it was nice to wake up in a nice hotel and feel well rested for the day. We were staying at the Sofitel and this place was pimp. Our “double” bedding situation was pretty funny.

“Double” Room

We had a taxi and driver arranged for us to take us to the Terra Cotta soliders. Of course before we got there, he had to take us into a “museum factory” where they also made Terra cotta figurines; for sale of course. This place turned out to be actually cool, and interesting to see how they made figurines today. But definitely makes you wonder how much of the soldiers we later see in the museum are indeed real.

Factory Floor

Artisan at work

Of course at the end of the tour, there is a “sell” for us to buy figurines or other items at a great discount because this is the sale month. Of course it is. How lucky we are! I resisted the temptation, because this wasn’t the actual Terra Cotta warrior museum, this was the little hustle that the driver wanted us to go by first. But again, it was cool to see.

On the way out we saw a glass locker on the side of the alley with everything we needed to start a revolution.

Bento revolution

When we arrived at the official museum, we were greeted by a potential guide. She spoke great English! Normally i am not a fan of guides, but for 100 yuan, and she spoke excellent English it was worth it.

Unesco World Heritage Site

We started our tour in reverse of what was typical, so we would start by seeing the smaller excavations and work our way up to the larger more impressive ones. This was a great idea, because had we seen the big site first, the rest of the walk would have been a yawn. You can read a ton of sites about the story of the warriors and their emperor. But as a site, it was indeed worth it to see. The warriors have been unearthed in different “pits” of varying sizes and various levels of excavation. You stand up high and look down into the pits. I had dreams of walking through warriors, but that only happens for folks like Bill Clinton and stuff.

A Smaller pit

In addition to the pit view, they have also pulled figurines out of the pits for inspection. The guy below is an archer nicknamed “Lucky”, because he is the only statue that was 100 percent intact, and he also still retains some of the color painted in his armor on his back.

Lucky

After the smaller pits we went on to hit the mother pit, pit 1, with over 6,000 figures. It was huge and impressive to think about the labor that went into it.

Pit 1

Ready for battle

In addition to the warriors, we also checked out a few other items from the excavation. First up was this weird lucky dragon. While our guide spoke great English, the story she told us of this dragon made absolutely no sense. But we did gather that this is some type of lucky dragon and when you go to Macao to gamble, if you have it in your pocket as a charm they make you leave it at the door and get it on your way out.

Lucky Dragon

Post checking out the pits, we went to have a spot of tea in the teahouse on the campus. It was empty. I had a great cup of goo long tea which was delicious. And our tea hostess taught us a lot.

Tea was beautiful

Our hostess hard at work

Post tea it was time to head back to the driver and get back to the hotel to check out. But of course its china, and everyone has a side hustle. The guide noted our disdain for walking and instead of taking us the forced 25 minute walk back past the gift shops, she offered a “taxi” for 20 yuan each. Um, I don’t see where taxis would pull up. Well remember its china. We cut down a side access lane, a guy jumps the barricade (miraculously it’s the only checkpoint with no guard??), presses the button, and let’s us out. Hmmm. Taxi? More like friend, wasn’t a meter in sight. But it was nice not to walk. So we rode down a dirt road and circled back to the entrance where our driver was waiting, it was $5 well spent.

At the hotel, we had an awesome lunch which i didn’t take any photos of. Sorry. We had a traditional japanese shabu shabu! Freaking awesome.

After checking out, we had a title time to kill, so the bellhop asked the driver to take us to the muslim quarter of the city. This was really interesting, and reminded me a lot of the markets in thailand and cambodia. Very packed and narrow thoroughfare and lots of action. I was bummed we didn’t get a chance to spend more time there.

The main walking street

Quail eggs for sale!

Nuts, breads, and baked yummies

My favorite family on a bike

A great conversation

On the walk back out, we passed this woman and her friends, she was making her own broom to sweep the sidewalk.

DIY

Post muslim quarter it was off to the airport, but first we needed gas. We pulled into the gas station, and our driver insisted I get out so his friends could see me.

Gas time

Oh yea, the tank is in the front

Post gas it was onward to the airport and now where i am drafting this from; the China Southern Airlines VIP lounge/ my first class seat (had to finish it on the plane). Yea, no more coach travel. More from Chengdu later

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