Wednesday, December 1, 2010
China: Xi'an (part 2)
Above, approaching my train to the right.Transit to Xi'an was a 12 hour overnight train, soft sleeper car. Ticket cost just over $60 and the sleeper car was actually really conformable.I don't know if it was a long day of walking around Beijing but within 10 minutes of leaving the station and carefully placing all my stuff between me and the wall I was out cold.Slept like a baby for 11.5 hours, woke up with just enough time to gather up my stuff and get off the train at Xi'an station... Pollution was bad in Xi'an, looking up you can see blue skies, looking forward the sky is brown.As you exit the station even if you did not know Xi'an was home to the famous Terracotta Warriors (TW), you would soon find out. There were many people at the exit waiting to tell you and even offer rides or help finding hotels or flights to your next destination. You know these people are legit, they all had business cards with there photo on it. That said, I went to see TW.This is a cool place, it was found about 30 years ago by farmers who were digging a hole. Each warrior has been excavated, cleaned up and put in the army... They were not found all standing like this.They were found more like this, if the people who found them were lucky.There are horses too:There are three pits where China is digging up TW. Above is pit 1, it is the largest. Pit 2 allows you to get close to some of the warriors.It's kind of creepy, you are looking at someone from a long time ago (I'm not sure how many 1000's of years).Someone had to carve there self, knowing it would just be buried in the ground.The two most amazing sculptures were these horse and carriage sets.They are made of over 3000 pieces that were re-assembled. Made of brass, ceramic and other, also very old.Then all over the TW site were Chinese army people, not sure what they were doing, maybe vacation like me. By the time I got back to downtown Xi'an, it was dark and I was covered in dust. After cleaning up I went for a walk around the city.Above is the bell tower, below is the drum tower, about 2 blocks apart and closed for the evening. Both originally made to make noise.Behind the drum tower is a large open market area, the Chinese-Muslim neighborhood of Xi'an.Lot's of shopping and food.For a weeknight, lots of people too.After walking around the market, I headed south to a bar area. Another China surprise, every bar has live music, I think every night, and not just in Xi'an.Surprise because it was simply not fitting my China stereotypes.And with that, off to Shanghai via plane. Post more soon.