Hot and Humid

Trip Start Aug 04, 2011
Trip End Jan 04, 2012

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What I did
Tour of Terracotta Warriors

Flag of China  , Shaanxi,
Monday, August 15, 2011

Settled in Xi'an. We're staying in a big hostel to the north east of the city inside the city walls. It's not too far from everything but it is in a bit of a residential area surrounded by little shops where everyone from the neighbourhood comes out at night and sits around on some plastic chairs to tuck into din dins. The neighborhoods are a little strange with different streets apparently devoted to different products - we have found hair cut and foot massage street, paper and surveying equipment street (this caught my fancy a little) and mobile phone unlocker street (they can also unlock PS3's and various other bits and pieces). They stare a little more here and I (martin) have begun to battle this with a stare out of my own which is beginning to come good. "You stare at me little chinese child, and I will stare right back- I am not an object of your glare". I'm gaining confidence and hopefully before I leave I may be able to look a granny square in the eye and scare her off.

It's unbearably hot and so first thing we have done is booked ourselves on a tour of the terracotta warriors. The way we see it is, worst case we're sat in an air conditioned bus half the day and underground looking at some clay soldiers the other half the day. Xi'an itself is a harder place to navigate as they are currently building the metro so we're having to resort to taxi's and walking a little more - and hence also struggling with the heat more.

Our plan was destroyed when we awoke to 37+ degrees, ridiculous humidity and a small decrepid bus with all the windows wide open. Chinese efficient air conditioning. We toured across Xi'an to pick up some more passengers and then headed off. Poor David (We guessed this probably wasn't his real name) was our tour guide and he was struggling with the sniffles. He couldnt get out a sentence with needing to wipe his nose and he was sweating profusely which was more to do with his ill health than the weather. He did try his best to explain everything and showed us around a Terracotta soldier factory and 'museum', where they in 2 minutes show you how they are built and then in the following 25 minutes lead you through a maze of merchandise - thankfully though no real pressure to buy which we have been given before in both Singapore and Bali.

We were led to dinner and had a good effort with the chopsticks, I only got myself covered in some rice and Kate managed to come out unscathed. We were marched to the Warriors behind Dave and his flag and then were set loose for 2 hours of warrior mayhem. Ok, so it wasn't a thrilling amusement park but it was interesting - two hours are probably just about right though. The warriors were unearthed some 37 years ago and the chinese are doing a good job at discovering more about the site and are still in the process of unearthing more of the blighters. They have covered some over to protect the colour which makes one of the giant hangers slightly surplus to requirements as it mainly shows rows upon rows of earth mounds. The areas where you can see the soldiers being put back together again (as per poor Humpty Dumpty) are a show of the careful work going on and maybe in 20 years all these will be nicely preserved and back underground so none of you lot can see them.

We both enjoyed the place and it has to go down as a highlight. To top it off though, Davey boy took us to the Qin Mausoleum where the emperor 'may' be buried , under a hill that 'might' contain mercury and lots of pearls, because it 'may' be one of many mausoleums that emperors chose to have in that area. We went through a 20 minute bus ride, a nice little walk in the devastating heat for Dave to give us a small chat in front of the tree covered earth mound to then tell us 'take a photo, but it's not really that interesting, its the same all the way around'. He was right, and we headed swiftly home.

Something he pointed out which was also quite interesting is that the new trees being planted were given a rope set of clothes to keep them warm so they didn't die. Very sweet. All the apples we saw hanging from the trees were also carefully wrapped in little polythene bags to keep the moisture in - now thats dedication.

A nice finish to the day was provided when we were able to book our tickets to the Panda place at Chengdu (pronounced Chung-du) and finally we will get to experience soft sleeper travel - in different cabins from one close to gettting it right.
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Michele on

you lucky pair looks brilliant. Dad has had his op and is back on ward. They say he will be home Saturday. Enjoy Chung Du, cant wait to hear next entry.

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