We flew to Xian for a few days during Spring Break and managed to tick another thing off of our “must do while in China” list. The Terracotta Warriors (or is it Terracotta Army? I don’t know) were fabulous. The Muslim Quarter was fabulous. The pollution was fabulously dense – about as bad as I’ve seen it anywhere in China. We’re still coughing, weeks afterwards!
We hired a driver and tour guide for a day to take us to the Terracotta Warriors. Our first stop was to a factory where they made replicas. We didn’t have to stop there, but stop we did. It was interesting to see how the warriors were made (today – not the same as how the originals were made thousands of years ago). There was one big room full of warriors and horses in all stages of completion before they were taken outside to one of the huge kilns to be fired for a week. There were about four big rooms of souvenirs to be bought. Tourist trap much? Well, we were tourists and we got sufficiently trapped.
After our tour guide collected her kickback for the stuff we paid too much money for, we went to the actual site of the terracotta warriors. But before we even got in to the gates we were taken into a shop where the discoverer of the site was selling his book. Or so we were led to believe. He was an oldish man who looked something like the real guy – but this is China and they could have found any lookalike to pose as the real guy. Bitter much?
Let’s just say our tour guide was relentless in doing all she could to extract money from us. We didn’t need to go into this shop and would have been happy not to. Anyway, we finally got our tickets and saw the warriors. And they were great. We visited Pit 1 then Pit 2, then Pit 3, which I read was not the way to do it as we saw the most impressive pit first and the other two were a bit “meh” by comparison. But we still managed to take several hundred photos! Most of the warriors have been restored as so few of them were discovered intact. My favourite part was seeing the warriors and horses that were half buried, yet to be fully excavated. Anyway, pictures….