Francisco de Stepho

Trip Start Feb 26, 2010
Trip End Feb 26, 2011

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Flag of China  , Shaanxi,
Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Andrew woke with another bad hangover as he'd been up drinking in to the wee hours with some guys from Nottingham and subsequently having another night with hardly any sleep he didn't feel the best. We missed the breakfast, to Andrew's horror, but the trip came with a free lunch so I told him it wouldn't be too long to wait.  We met up with our fellow travellers. including Rorie and Emer, in reception and off we went on the mini bus.  We started with a trip to the 'Government approved' Terracotta Warrior factory to see how the replicas were made.  There was so much stuff in this place, they didnt just produce the warriors, they made hand made lacquered furniture, rugs, tiles and amongst other things kites?!.  We saw some of the artists at work which was facinating.  A few people made a few purchases however I was under strict orders to keep the wallet zipped, scrooge!

We stopped for lunch at a hotel for an eat as much as you can for 2.50 pounds each including beer. Then we set off to see the tombs in reverse order visiting tombs 2 and 3 first and finally the largest tomb where they have uncovered 2000 warriors already and have about another 4000 to uncover and repair (all but one of the warriors were damaged in one way or another prior to discovery).  The warriors were discovered in 1973 by local farmers digging a well.  Since then the whole site has been under renovation.  Our guide, Jia Jia was fantastic and set the humour for the day.  We all had to introduce ourselves on the bus and say where we were from and what we were doing in China.  She gave us a rundown on the site and amongst other things told us that the Emperor was buried about 1 1/2 kms from the Terra-Cotta army with approximately 3000 of his concubines.  Lucky fella.  Andrew asked me in a whisper, "What is a concubine?  Is it a cigarette?"  I told Rorie and Emer and we all fell apart laughing.  When we arrived at the site for some bizarre reason Jia Jia would not let us use our passports as ID to get in through the 3 gates as many people had lost or had their passports taken off them. She therefore started distributing fake ID's.  Whilst everyone else got someone who looked remotely like themselves Andrew was last in line and got a Spanish man called Francisco de Paula with what pretty much resembled a dark afro.  We were all in absolute stiches and I almost weed myself laughing. It was just so typical.

To add insult to injury we were just walking through the last gate when Andrew slipped on the wet floor and almost fell right on his backside (he was wearing flip flops), what made it even more funny was thinking that if he had been alone, knocked unconscious and searched for ID they would have actually thought he was Francisco himself.  The Terra-Cotta Warriors didn't disappoint they were really amazing, the size of Pit 1 was increadible and was housed in a building the size of an air craft hangar.  As the Emporer wanted to keep the army a secret he murdered everybody who worked on the project.... which was nice. A highlight of the trip so far. 

Besides the scale and detail of the warriors one of the most impressive things that you continue to forget is that these warriers were created in about 200BC. Also of note was the tomb of the guy who had them built is several square kilometres in size and took about 700,000 men to build it. It contains rivers of mecury amongst other things. 

The bus back to the hostel was as entertaining as the way there but this time Jia Jia asked us all to sing a song, nobody volunteered so she said she would either sing a Chinese song or 'My heart will go on' from Titanic.  Despite our pleas for the latter she decided that i was a 'little difficult' and song us the Chinese song.  She also kept calling Andrew 'handsome' which he loved.  Apparently something to do with a beer belly and beard?  Honestly. 
When we eventually got back to the hostel feeling knackered we decided that we would have an early night.  After a bacon burger and our free pint of beer courtesy of the hostel we headed to bed hoping to muster up enough energy for our 14km bike ride of the city walls tomorrow.  I must have been drunk when I agreed to that.

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Jan on

Hilarious! Love the fact you were given false passports!!!

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