As you may have notice from the title above, today’s activities delivered quite a variation. Let’s found out why!
This morning we woke up super early to venture out to see the Terracotta Warriors. At first, I was not happy about waking up as early as we did but once we had finished the site seeing and were heading out of the site I was happy because the crowd had expanded almost 5 fold. The Terracotta Warriors were such a spectacle and what made it even more unique was the back story behind everything. From the farmer who had originally discovered the underground warriors to the fact that they are still searching for rest of the military branches to the revolting act of the militant, it was one of my favorite cultural visits yet. Besides the shear beauty of the craftsmanship that each warrior held, the preservation and technology available at the time of creation made it all more impressive. Walking through the massive, airline-hanger-factory that preserved the first room of warriors, one could really tell how long of a process it takes to keep the artifacts in pristine condition. You walk inside the building and first see a ton of rows and channels and everything is quite clear and distinctive, then you keep going and you start to see where the initial digging has begun and some warriors heads are beginning to pop out (keep in mind, all of them were at some point buried underground), and finally, on the opposite end of the factory you just have a level ground at the same level as the us, the observers, where some of the destroyed warriors are in the process of being reconstructed. Power to the people working through the puzzle of putting the warriors back together, but that is something that would be beyond my scope as pieces were scattered everywhere and nothing looked to match up. After the main room, we toured through 3 other rooms filled, one with the chariot branch of the military, another displaying high ranking officers and generals in a meeting, and the last being just a museum style close up view of a multitude of artifacts.
After the tour was finished we had a buffet style lunch. At this point, most meals have consisted of the same types of food prepared in mainly similar styles of cooking coupled with some marquee dishes native to wherever we had ate the meal. Today’s marquee dish was the Xi’an hamburger! First “hamburger,” I have had in a while. However, this hamburger was more similar to what we know as pulled pork.
Now we were off to bike Xi’an’s City Wall. The hour and a half bus ride went very well as it only seemed as if I blinked and we were there. Have to take my sleep where I can get it I guess!
The roughly 15 kilometer bike ride was one of my favorite activities in Xi’an. The City Wall which originally contained all of Xi’an was a square that towered over the streets and provided many beautiful views. Plus since we got here early there were also barely any other groups of people up there besides our own group. Here’s where the “dripping,” as the title insists, comes into play. We were biking, with a clear sky, in 95 degree heat. So yes, I was dripping in sweat. I cannot complain though, I love biking and pair that with the magnificent views it was all worth it. Plus, at one of the stops, I got a couple magnificent mango juices that made me wish the mango was a more prevalent fruit in the US. Another interesting fact, scattered throughout the 9 mile bike ride we saw around 6 different photoshoots all carrying the same theme: male in tuxedo, female in an beautiful, extravagant red gown. Later we found out that this was typical wear for marriages. Congrats to all those couples. All sweating pounds off with the bike ride it was time to head back to the hotel. Until we left to shop within the Muslim Quarters (described in blogs before), I packed as we are headed to Shanghai tomorrow!!
While I cannot go into much detail regarding the shopping I had since some of you readers will be receiving said gifts, bargaining with store owners was quite comical. It was such a interesting dynamic. Both sides of the transaction included heavy acting and deceiving. The goal was to obtain the lowest price possible. If sellers were acting as if they couldn’t lower their price, all it took was to walk off another 100 yards to another seller and start the process all over again. Even then, the simple threat of losing business often times made sellers drop price significantly. I wish the clothes I shopped for in the US handled business this way.
As I mentioned before, we’ll be headed to Shanghai tomorrow and doing a cruise tour down the split of the city. Something I am extremely excited for, as if everything else hasn’t been just as exciting. Tune in tomorrow!
The above two pictures include a local famous lamb soup with noodles and bread clusters and another mango beverage, this time a mango smoothie I enjoyed with my friend Matt!