Today was our second day in Xi’an and as soon as I woke up, I knew something was different outside. When I woke up, the sky was smoggy, but not from the weather. We were told by our tour guide that there had been a sandstorm in the distance that had blown in a bunch of sand and dust that had caused the particulate matter in the atmosphere to rise. Since the air quality was bad, we had to wear masks later during the day. We first traveled to the Terra Cotta warriors which were just outside of Xi’an. The Terra Cotta Warriors were built for the first emperor when he died from mercury at an early age of 49. They were built to protect his tomb from people trying to raid or steal his body. A large team of workers built his tombs and warriors and then were killed afterwards in order to protect the location of his tomb. When we arrived, I was truly surprised about how large of an area the warriors were spread out. We visited three separate pits that had over 1500 separate figures ranging from warriors to chariots and horses. Some of the warriors in the second pit were pretty much destroyed, but warriors in the first and third pit were in good shape, but most of them have lost their color. Our tour guide told us that there were over 4,000 warriors, but they are still buried and wrapped with plastic in order to protect their color from the air. The main pit was expansive and stretched more than a couple of football fields lengths and housed majority of the statues in a large formation. While the tombs were expansive, there is still much more to be found since the initial discovery was only discovered after a farmer in 1970 found remnants of his tomb.
After visiting the warriors, we traveled back to downtown Xi’an and rented bikes to ride on the Xi’an wall. The wall wraps around the downtown of the city and is over 9 miles in length. The wall protected the city in the past and now has various shops and is used as a pathway around the city. Biking around the city was difficult since they only had one size of bike and it was way too small for me. Also biking with a mask was difficult and hard to breath so I took it off which resulted in me having a cough by the end of the bike ride. The trip however did provide a good view of the city and a good overview of how expansive the city is. The city is not as large as Beijing with a more concentrated downtown but does not stretch as far out as Beijing. After our bike ride, we returned to our hotel and had dinner with Dr. Li. This time, our meal consisted of many traditional Xi’an and Chinese foods such as lamb soup, chicken and beef ball soup, and barbecue lamb ribs. All in all, I will miss Xi’an, but I can’t wait to make it to Shanghai next!