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Published: October 10th 2010
Hello all and hope you have a great Thanksgiving. I'm in Xi'an, home of the Army of the Terracotta Warriors and it poured today. My guide book says this province is either extremely hot or bitterly cold with annual rainfall of 50 cms and typically falls between June and August. It seriously poured the entire day but that's not why I'm posting, just find it funny that it should be very dry here. On with the blog!
I managed to squeeze in another city between Datong and Xi'an called Pingyao. Didn't spend much time there but it's one of those wonderful little places that when you venture off the tourist track, you see real live China. It's mostly contained within ancient city walls. They date back to 1370 and are roughly 10 m high (guidebook...). As I said, the best part was wandering off the tourist track and just seeing the local people hanging laundry, having a chat with the neighbours or just going about their day. As I said, I only spent a full day there but that was long enough to just wander the old streets.
I then arrived in Xi'an and spent the day today at
the Terracotta Warriors site. I'd read a quote once, 'if you visit the Terracotta Warriors, you'll regret the day but if you miss it, you'll regret it for life.' I took that to mean that it is somewhat underwhelming but still a 'must see'. To see it in life was not a regret, not sure where I read that and who said it but that person is mistaken in my opinion. As most of you know, not one face resembles another, all are unique even right down to the tread on the footwear. Discovered in 1974 by a farmer drilling a water well, they began excavation soon after. There are three pits where pit number 1 is the largest with more than 6000 warriors and horses, all facing east ready for battle. According to the information on site, every warrior that was unearthed was replaced exactly where it was found if it were moved for restoration and cataloguing. There are a few warriors in glass boxes at eye level where you can see the detail up close otherwise everything is below ground where you can view from above. The lighting wasn't that great, able to take pics decently enough but
to zoom in for detail wasn't possible with the low lighting. I hope you like the pictures.
After this on the 12th, I'm off to Shanghai. I'm resorting to flying thereby blowing a bit of a hole in my travel budget but I can't get a sleeper out of Xi'an until after the 15th. There are standing tickets, meaning for the 14 hour train ride, I could stand to Shanghai -- I opted for a flight. The frustration is you can't book onward tickets unless you're in that city so there's nothing a person can do, well, stand from 5 pm to 7 am on the train, no thanks...
And one last thing, the last couple of pics are from Datong and give reason to why I choose to walk as much as possible and try not to rickshaw it if I don't have to. You see some of the darndest things when you're out walking. Have fun all and I'll be in touch later...
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