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Impressions of China

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Yangtze River 1 | Yangtze River 2 | Yangtze River 3 | Shanghai 1 | Shanghai 2 | Shanghai 3 | Observations
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Xian - One

I have never traveled with the travel gods so angry. Tomorrow a plague of locusts? The fog and the pollution haze of Beijing was replaced in Xian with fog and rain. So, not only couldn't you see anything in the mid or far distance, and this is a lush area of persimmon and pomegranate trees with magnificent mountains nearby, but we got to get wet in the bargain. We were assured that we had nothing to worry about since the terra cotta soldiers were all under roof. While it is true they are under roof, the problem for us was that they are under roof in three separate buildings, each of which was many rain puddles apart from the others.

We have not had uniformly delicious food everywhere we have eaten, but today ranks (in all meanings of that word) among the lowest. We walked a considerable distance to a communal dining room where we were able to eat with several hundred of our fellow tourists. The best part of lunch was watching a man prepare noodles starting with the dough. After whapping, stretching and kneading the dough for five or so minutes, he started pulling the dough like taffy, but constantly looping it back on itself in separate strands so that after starting with stretched dough about a yard wide and several inches thick, he ended up with something that looked like a 100 foot rolled up garden hose but with a very thin diameter. He then threw his noodles in a cauldron of boiling broth and 5 minutes later we all had really homemade noodle soup.

The terra cotta warriors were in three separate buildings. The scale of the place would have made an Egyptian pharaoh green with envy. The guide called it the largest burial site in the world (what's been uncovered is just a small part of the entire site). Like the pharaohs, the "terra cotta" emperor believed that he'd rule in the afterlife. He wanted an army, among other things, to help him do that. The guide said that although this emperor was quite powerful, he had the clay army created because he was somehow dissuaded/prevented from entombing his actual army in his burial site.

The construction style of the largest of the three buildings (the picture above) looks like an aircraft factory. What an extraordinary ego to build this small city of lifesize pottery people, particularly when you consider that these thousands of visible warriors are but a small part of the total as yet unexcavated site. From Egypt to China, it's interesting how the grand scale postmortem obsessions of one era (which at the time probably created untold economic hardships) turned into economic boons thousands of years later. Xian is now one of the major tourist attractions in China, for residents and foreigners alike.

I would not have missed the visit to this site, but I would not go back there again.

     

San Francisco | Beijing 1 | Beijing 2 | Beijing 3 | Beijing 4 | Xian 1 | Xian 2 | Guilin |  Chong-Qing
Yangtze River 1 | Yangtze River 2 | Yangtze River 3 | Shanghai 1 | Shanghai 2 | Shanghai 3
Observations


HOME  |  AUSTRALIA 2003  |  ACROSS AMERICA  |  IMPRESSIONS OF CHINA  |  VIETNAM  |  AFRICA  |  AROUND THE WORLD 2009  |  SOUTH AMERICA 2009  |  LEGENDARY CULTURES 2011
  |  TURKEY AND GREECE  |  CIRCLE THE ARCTIC