Day 160: Thursday, May 6th, 2010
Xi'an, China. Per Intrepid Notes, "While in Xi'an we take a trip to the place that has perhaps made Xi'an most famous around the world - the site of the Terracotta Warriors. It takes around an hour to get there and you'll hear all about this incredible archaeological find, discovered by farmers digging a well in 1976 after being buried for thousands of years. These clay statues of soldiers, horses and chariots all standing in battle formation were commissioned by the emperor of the Qin dynasty as part of his mausoleum and a number of pits are now on view to the public.
On our way back from the Terracotta Warriors, we stop for lunch and to meet with our friends at Xi'an Huiling (meaning "wise spirit") - a special Intrepid-supported project for people with intellectual disabilities."
So, yea- Terracota Warriors
(aka Terracota Army)! It was pretty amazing to walk into this giant airplane hangar (or so it felt) and to see them stretched out in front of you. Follow the link to read all about these guys. There are 3 different buildings with the warriors being in different stages. The first one,
half are uncovered, half aren't and the uncovered ones are crammed together (as they originally were). 2nd buildling, warriors are uncovered and they are set up in a very spacious way (as they originally were). And for the 3rd one, they are all still covered up because they (people who are excavating them) realized that they were doing a lot of damage by uncovering them. So, they're waiting for technology to have a break thru before they proceed.
Another building has a short movie showing how the warriors were made and how they came to be damaged and then covered up/forgotten. Also, there's a gift shop and we were in luck! One of the farmer's that had uncovered the warriors was there and was signing copies of a book that told the story. If I remember what Marcia said correctly, there were 2 farmers that came across the warriors on their land. Then, the government came in and said "it's not your land anymore and it's not your find, go away" and so they did. Lost their land and didn't receive any money for their findings. Then, Bill Clinton (I feel like I'm telling a fairy tale- maybe I
am) went over and told someone he wanted to meet the farmer's. The Chinese government then went "hmmm, we could make more money off this" so they hunted down the farmer's and brought them into the limelight. Now, one of them is usually on hand to sign his name (for a fee of course). Marcia says that's the only thing he knows how to write, his name. So, who knows if that story of how the farmer came to be sitting there is true and even if this is the real farmer or if it's just a giant hoax. Regardless, I was pretty excited by this and paid for the book, his signature, and some postcards.
Another building had a giant marionette Terracota Warrior doll and a giant little girl marionette and a sign that said it had been used at the opening (or was it closing?) of the Beijing Olympics
. Sorry, for some reason I missed that part. Pretty creepy, yet must have been cool to see "in action." We stop at a nearby house for lunch (it was included with our Intrepid excursion) and then we head back to Xi'an.
Once in town, we stop at Xi'an Huiling
which is a center for folks with
mental disabilities. We played some games with them and bought a few trinkets, and then made our way back to the hotel. Nice to see that the community is trying to help those with Mental/Learning disabilities instead of ignoring or shunning them.
We have a couple of hours free and then most of us head out to catch the Musical Water Show
. I followed the boys lead, as I tend to do, and we stood in the middle of the fountain on a raised part of the "pond" with some others. We only got a little wet, from the mist. Others had more of a soaking because they would try to run across one of the many many many fountain platforms before the next jet of water hit (Hamish was one of runners- made it too!) It was a lot of fun and another surreal moment. What an amazing background (Big Wild Goose Pagoda
). Made doubly amazing because there was as Baskin Robbins nearby and I was chowing down on some World Class Chocolate and Rocky Road. Mmmmm.
After that, we hit up one of the old quarter streets and went to a few bars. I made it threw 2 bars before I
was ready to call it a night (loud and I wasn't getting all happy drunk). Tomorrow, Hamish and I are meeting up in the morning to do a bike ride on the city wall. Fun!
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; mem: 1.4mb