Once Were Warriors

Trip Start Apr 03, 2013
Trip End Ongoing

Flag of China  , Shaanxi,
Wednesday, April 24, 2013

So off the sleeper train and on to Xi'an.  The sleeper trains seem to be much more advanced than Russia so really wasn’t as bad as it could have been.  Good thing the old man’s feet no longer smelt when we got back so we were able to sleep easy.

Just as we got the hang of saying hello, we find out that Beijing says it different to the rest of China so back to trying to say that one again, damn it!!

So off to the hotel for some breakfast and a freshen up. I am really looking forward to eating normal things for breakfast and not having bok-choy, noodles or rice for breakfast.  So nibbles down and off to the room, quite big so that was good.

First stop today was the terra-cotta warriors.  Just a little excited I think!! We headed to a workshop that makes the warrior replicas, learnt how they do it and firing in the kiln and all that jazz.  Seems like a quite lengthy process but they come out looking quite good.  They have all different sizes and so Steve took forever to work out which size he wanted and which ones he wanted, I mean they are all the same it just depends on which price you want to pay really.  Anywho, we decided to not give anyone a heart attack and have the big guys sent home so we settled with a more travel friendly version.

Now off to see the real deal!!!  The walk up to the entrance is quite long and the area is really touristy.  Hard to believe this used to be farmland???  We headed to pit 1 first which is the massive one.  There are loads in here and loads to still be put back together and excavated.  They only have 20 archaeologists working on the site at one time so it seems like it is going to be quite some years before they are going to be anywhere near finished.  After all that excitement it was time to stop for a very westernised lunch at the in-house restaurant.  The good thing was that we got to see two different ways of making noodles.  One was cutting them from a massive lump of dough and the other just stretching then and slapping the dough on the counter, that way looked much more interesting and they tasted good as well.  Next off to pit 3, in here they say it is the most important pit.  This is because it is thought this was the headquarters.   Seemed quite small but all the important guys are in here but they are all headless??  They had a guy who would have been in his chariot with his horses, however, there is no chariot.  They made all these out of wood so they have all gone to warrior heaven.  The second pit needs the most work.  They have taken x-rays so they know what is under there but for now it is just a pile of dirt!!  We did our own archaeology find at one point and we found a duck back pack!!! 

Tonight we decided to go out and have a few drinks in town.  There were 8 of us so that is two taxi’s nice and easy.  Steve and I headed off with two others and all the girls headed off together.  We were told it would be about 20 Yuan for the taxi.  We tried but couldn’t get anything under 40, however, when you convert it back that is only about 5 so not that steep.  So off we go, we have directions for the driver so all should be fine right??  How wrong could we be?  He goes to drop us off and we show him the card as we are not sure where we are supposed to go then he takes off again, he then says something gives us some hand directions and then off we go.  We are in some dodgy street that does not look like there is a bar in sight.  So time to ask some questions.  The first few people were not that helpful, however, finally we had a very helpful girl who asked around for us and finally some local on the street knew where to go.  She gave us directions in Chinese and spoke directly to me like I understood her completely.  Oh well off we go and try to work it out again.  Finally we make it, and find the bar we are looking for which the girls are already at and we find out they only had to pay 17 Yuan on the meter.  Never mind we are here.  Not much of jazz bar as they just play music from the internet and that is the jazz aspect.  No one speaks a word of English so a few drinks here and off we go.  They did sell red wine, no white wine only some stuff with peach in it which made it taste a little like schnapps, odd.  Anyways, we then head down this street which is lit up like a Christmas tree and people trying to get you to come to their places everywhere, we are starving and finally make a decision to go to YoYo.  We all order and then the waitress comes back with another menu and tells us no.  Once we worked out we all have to order again from the new menu we do and then wait.  Steve and I ordered some cocktails which were the smallest cocktails in the world.  I got a margarita which was like a thimble size and Steve got a tequila sunrise which was just orange juice and tequila, not to worry.  After feeling exhausted by trying to order some dinner and drinks we decide to head back to the hotel, which meant for us another cab and another rip off merchant.  We drove rings around the city but Steve, Brent and I were in the back and didn’t notice so much, Kath was in the front and not happy at all with the guy so we gave him 20 Yuan and got out, he didn’t complain so obviously just thought he could make a few extra Yuan for the night off the tourists.

So off for some well needed exercise today.  First up a nice bike ride around the city wall.  It was quite a long one, 13km in total and a very bumpy ride which just reminded me how much 'extra baggage’ I have picked up already.  We stopped to watch a little drumming show which was good but their timing could be a little better, and then took in the great scenery around us.  Steve was trying to show off by doing some bunny hops, however, he then claimed he had a flat tyre so not sure if the two were in fact linked??

We then headed to the wild goose pagoda.  It is named after a temple in India, the story is about a goose flying over and dropping dead in the yard and I think they then became vegetarian or they finally got food??  Not sure which one but both sound good right?  The pagoda is 7 stories high and not one bit of cement.  It has survived many earthquakes and only has a slight lean to the left to show for it all.  We had a calligraphy demonstration where both Steve and I were suckered in and bought our names, as our memory is so great we can only remember parts of what our names mean.  Steve is to do with an emperor and I am a beautiful lady (she probably tells everyone that thoughJ).  We went for a stroll around the grounds to try and find the laying Buddha, but instead we found a wooden carving of the life and travel from the guy in Monkey Magic!!  There was also a jade carving of Buddha’s life to keep in theme with the pagoda.

We treated ourselves to a milo ice cream!!  The first milo we have had in ages and it was lacking the main ingredient milo??

We said goodbye to a few in the group today as they were either going back to Beijing or heading into the deep depths of China.  The rest of us lucky folks get to get on another sleeper train.  Steve and I found out that the old saying of he who screams the loudest gets fed first still plays a part in life and no matter where in the world you are.  So as all our train tickets were booked but one couple decided to continue on the trip with us the day we left as Steve and I handled the locals well the first time we got their tickets and back with the locals, the only two in the group that were separated.  Oh well let’s hope for another gooden and no smelly feet!!  So we got a really nice guy who works in Xi’an but his family live 2 hours away from Shanghai so he was off to visit.  He told us all about his daughter and wife and also noted he would mind our clothes for us when we went to the dining cart.  We bought some wine from the trolley man on the way down and struggled to get cups from the dinning cart, they were guarding them with all their life!!  Last night of sleeper trains so we did need to celebrate!!
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