Ancient warriors, how a rickshaw nearly killed us
Trip Start Dec 04, 2006
63Trip End Aug 05, 2007
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Our main purpose for coming to town was to see the famous terra cotta warriors. Fans of Amazing Race would have seen them in a previous season. Well, it is worth the trip. In the Spring of 1974, a number of farmers near Xi'an discovered some ancient bronze weapons and pieces of broken terra-cotta armoured warriors while sinking a well. This turned out to be one of the most amazing archaeological discoveries of the twentieth century. Excavations since then have found 1800 terra-cotta warriors, but it is estimated that there are at least 6000 more still to be excavated.
The terra cotta warriors are in battle formation and include cavalry, infantry and charioteers. They are a replica of the Qin army and were created over 2200 years ago. Interesting to note that each warrior has a different facial expression and carried a bronze weapon that remained sharp throughout the years.
Kudos to Lonely Planet for correctly identifying the one inexpensive public bus, among a gazillion other buses, that took us approximately 1hr to get there. The Chinese have clearly figured out that this is a major tourist draw so they have invested heavily in infrastructure. Things are still under construction but there will be room for shops upon shops.
As our photo album will show, the attention to detail is superb. For us, it was a real highlight and worth the trip. Once we returned to town, we spent a few hours touring the city center. Stores upon stores abound and Tara was quite sad that our status as backpackers, not to mention our daily budget, prevented her from perusing the shelves. Ended the evening with a ride in a rickshaw which is essentially an underpowered motorcycle with a tiny carriage attached at the back. The ride began well enough, but Tara was screaming in short order. Our driver ran a red light to cross four lanes of traffic, cutting off cars and a rather large bus. Horns were blazing and I remember thinking that my femur wouldn't do much to ward off injury from a side impact. For some reason, we escaped unharmed. Instead of counting his lucky stars, our driver took us four blocks down a one-way street with lights and more horns blasting us. When we finally reached our hotel, he jumped off and you could see he was having a great time of it. Tara informs me that there will be no more rickshaw rides...