It's a love/hate thing

Trip Start Jul 03, 2009
Trip End Aug 16, 2009

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Where I stayed
The Hyatt Xi'an

Flag of China  , Shaanxi,
Sunday, August 2, 2009

No this isn't my t-shirt of the day, it’s how I feel about China, specifically Xi’an on day two. We have so many pleasant and unique interactions with the people here while simultaneously being pushed, scammed, suffocated by smog etc. I have a wicked sinus infection so Joe, master of the itinerary allowed some sleeping in to make sure that I felt up to our day of sight-seeing.

After making sure that all of my coughs and nose blowing fits were out of the way so I wouldn’t be quarantined, we headed out to grab a taxi to get to the Terra Cotta soliders, which some claim to be the eighth wonder of the world. The hotel hired us a driver for the day who I will call "NAILZ" for the purposes of this entry since this man had the longest thickest most disgusting fingernails I have ever seen on a man or a woman. NAILZ was a crazy driver per usual but managed to get us to the statues in a fairly speedy manner. The price that we paid NAILZ must have been so over inflated that he could actually afford to hang out in the parking lot of the museum and wait for us while we viewed the statues for approximately three hours. We felt ok about this as the price we paid matched the one listed in our guide book, and NAILZ probably needs the yuan more than we do for his manicures. (Xi’an =1 MB and Joe = 0)

Our museum day began in a less than exciting manner at KFC which is just as disgusting in China but without someone to say “eat here” we really didn’t trust the local restaurants nearby. I continue to wonder what part of a chicken the nugget comes from…(Xi’an = 2 MB and Joe = 0)

Words or even the twenty thousand pictures that Joe took can’t begin to describe how amazing and grand the soldiers and horses are. The statues were discovered by a farmer digging a well in 1976. Can you imagine, “um, hey guys, I think I found something over here…” but were created in 210BCE. A lot of them have been destroyed by enemy armies over the years but now are in the safe custody of the government. They have been constantly excavating the soldiers since their discovery and there is still much work to be done.

There are three separate pits of soldiers and horses, each face is different and the individual statues take years to repair once excavated. Make sure to watch our horse race video which we think is hysterical, but maybe we have heat stroke. Also pay special attention to the mega creepy large marionettes of a terra cotta solider holding a little girl’s hand that looks like a Chinese Chucky Doll.

The Terra Cotta museum is a perfect example of what I love and hate about Xi’an. The site is incredible but Chinese tourists are like hungry animals. There is so much pushing and yelling one would think the statues were going to up and leave at a certain time. I didn’t think it was possible but Joe and I have become more aggressive to accommodate. Overall, it was an incredible site. (Xi’an = 3, MB and Joe = 3)

Off to find NAILZ! Someone recognized us and called NAILZ to tell him we were back and we headed back to our black chariot. On the way home, NAILZ pulls over to a building that looked like a temple in an empty parking lot. The following thoughts went through my mind:

-the end is now. NAILZ is going to claw us to death and steal our money and passports.

-NAILZ is a religious guy and wants to stop and pray before heading back to the city/wants to convert us.

-NAILZ needs to use the bathroom?

The real answer is that NAILZ has a deal with a silk factory to bring unwilling whities to the site for a “tour” which is exactly the same “tour” as we had at the factory on the other tour we were a part of in Shanghai. After saying “no thanks” to cheap looking non-silk products we got back in the car and pointed to our hotel’s business card indicating that we just wanted to go home. That wasn’t enough for NAILZ as he pulled off another road and said “terra cotta souveniers?” No NAILZ, I don’t want a cheap wood looking imitation solider to put in my bathroom or a fake jade bracelet or Chinese stress balls. I want to go home. After making it quite clear that we were not getting out of the car again he pulled away delivering us safely back to our hotel. (Xi’an = 4, MB and Joe = 3)

After all of that adventure, my sinuses and I needed a little nap before our dinner time expedition. We thought that it would be a simple trip to a dumpling shop that had been recommended in our book. Sigh. We grabbed a cab and my dear husband thinks he is absolutely sure that the cabbie is taking us the wrong way,  that we are again, being taken for a ride. He gives the man the address again and the man simply nods like we are idiots and keeps driving. Let’s call this driver “AHOLE.”

 AHOLE was a particularly aggressive driver and at a stop light, he bumps an old man’s motorbike tire. Now the man on the bike did come out of nowhere, but he still had time not to hit him. Instead of just yelling an apology out the window and driving on, he starts screaming at the old man who then starts yelling back. AHOLE then gets out of our cab at a busy intersection (Xi’an = 5 MB and Joe =3) and starts shoving the old man. This then evolves into a fist fight. There are honking horns and zooming cars on all sides but I know we have to get out of this car. This is certainly not going to end well. We drop some coins in the front seat (because my grandfather warned us not to get arrested because no one would care in China) and step in front of traffic to cross the intersection. We did not get hit by a car/bus/bike. (Xi’an = 5 MB and Joe = 4)

It gets worse when Joe still believes that the cabbie was taking us the wrong way and leads us all the way back to our hotel only to discover AHOLE was only a minor AHOLE-let and was not scamming us. We were, in fact, going the correct way. (Xi’an = 6 MB and Joe = 4) and now had to walk the distance that the cab had originally taken us and further! We finally reached our restaurant exhausted and sweaty but were then treated to a remarkable meal experience.

Our guide book had recommended the 18 course dumpling feast. We were very careful to give them Joe’s “I cannot eat seafood or I will die” paper and everyone seemed to understand. He was sad to have missed out on the jellyfish head that I got to eat but got over his disappointment pretty quickly…

The dumplings were indeed incredible, some shaped like walnuts, turtles, and well, dumplings. We got hot pot, chicken soup and what seemed like hundreds of delicious dumplings all for $20.00. (Xi’an = 6 MB and Joe = 6)

After some discussion we decided to brave another cab ride back to the hotel. We got an honest driver who got us back safely. (Xi’an = 6 MB and Joe = 7) HA you didn’t think we would win, but we did.

T-shirt of the day: Tasty music is the world I live...a quick note about my I Love BK (Brooklyn) t-shirt worn today. A lot of folks looked and said "BK" as they passed. I hope they didn't think that as a chunky American that it said I Love Burger King...sigh.

Tomorrow: Feeling hot hot hot in Beijing and Mao money Mao problems
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