Today was a never ending day. After very little sleep last night, I was up early to get ready for our extremely busy day. We went to the Terracotta Warriors Museum, where we got to see the terracotta soldiers that have been pieced together, and those who are only partially rebuilt. It is said that it will take 500 years to complete the reconstruction of all of the pieces into their original figures!
While it was extremely cool to see these terracotta soldiers, I had a bad experience that challenged my positive outlook. The pits were extremely crowded and people were inconsiderate while walking. They’d either stop in the middle of the walk way, spread out across the walkway, or just shove you. This was a little bit frustrating and was only aggravated further by the stares I received for being foreign. People would blatantly stare at me, take photos and videos of me, and touch me simply because I was unlike what they are used to seeing. In fact, most other people in my group experienced the same thing, and we were all overwhelmed and, unfortunately, a little distracted from the reason we were all there: to see the terracotta warriors.
Ultimately, despite the ignorance of some others, I was so excited to see the terracotta soldiers. My interest in this topic made me a little bit more flexible and understanding, which allowed me to enjoy myself regardless. After touring the three main pits, we had lunch. Lunch was a buffet style meal, which was nice because you could pick whatever you want and however much you know you’ll eat. When we have traditional lazy Susan meals, we end up wasting so much food, so I was glad to have more control over my portions through a buffet style meal.
As if walking through the Terracotta Warriors Museum for four hours was not tiring enough, out next activity was riding bikes on the City Wall. I had not ridden a bike since probably seventh grade, so I was a little worried, but I was quickly able to pick it back up. However, I felt as though I could not enjoy the view while riding a bike, so I rode for a little and then walked the rest of the way. I stopped at one spot on the wall to watch some kind of performance take place within the wall just beneath me. I do not know what it was, but there was live music, the traditional Chinese kind, and lots of people gathered nearby. Again, I was photographed, pointed at, and stared at, which made it difficult for me to enjoy myself, but I just focused on the sights and sounds and smells that surrounded me and that reminded me of how lucky I am to be half way around the world experiencing so many new things.
After biking, Dr. Li took us to dinner at a traditional Xi’an style restaurant. The food in Xi’an is definitely spicier than in Beijing, but it was so good! We had a full Xi’an style banquet, which consists of 8 cold dishes and 8 hot dishes. My favorite plates were the tofu, the noodles, the fish, and this delicious sweet fried bread. Overall, I think this was definitely one of the best meals I’ve had thus far in China.
Tomorrow morning, we leave Xi’an and head to Shanghai for the final five days of our time in China. Xi’an is such an interesting place with so much authenticity and uniqueness, but I definitely cannot wait to get to Shanghai! Two cities down, one to go: xie xie Xi’an!