When we got on the bus this morning, Dr. Li gave us all communist hats that he bought at the street market the night before. This is possibly the most interesting gift I’ve ever received, but none the less, we all appreciated it :). Kevin also gave us Chinese knots. In Chinese, knots represent vigor, harmony, and unification. I put it on my backpack to remind me of this amazing trip!
As we traveled to the Terracotta Warriors, Kevin gave us some history about them. Emperor Qin Shihuang wanted to be protected in his afterlife, so 8,000 warriors were built to be buried with him. Even though there are 8,000 figures, we can only see 2,000 of them. The Chinese government has decided to stop looking for the other 6,000 warriors until they are confident in the restoration process of the pottery when they are removed from the ground.
We first went into the museum. The first section showcased full size warriors and sculpted animals that were also buried with Qin Shihuang. There was another section that explained how terracotta warriors were first found: a farmer was drilling a well on his land and discovered them.
Next, we went into three different pits. In Pit 2, we took a group picture and Kevin explained the mix of military forces. There were archers, war chariots, cavalrymen, and infantrymen. There was also a section where archeologists were continuing their excavation work. Pit 3 was smaller, with only 68 pottery figures, one chariot, and 34 bronze weapons. Some civilians did not like the first emperor, so they broke some of the pottery, which explains the headless warriors. The most famous pit, Pit 1, has thousands of warriors standing in rows. This was the most crowded pit, and I learned never to mess with a Chinese grandma. They were extremely aggressive to take front row pictures with the terracotta warriors.
For lunch, we went to a tourist restaurant that served buffet style meals. This was different than the traditional banquet style we have been used to eating. However, the food was very good and they served excellent ramen.
There was a sand storm today, so the air quality was poor. The sky was a mix of grey and yellow and we could not see the top of tall buildings. Lilliana, our program coordinator, bought us masks and encouraged us to wear them.
We then took a 9-mile bike ride around the Xi’an City Wall. The uneven stone made the ride bumpy and the dust made it hard to see. During the ride, we saw many tourists walking and we saw two couples taking wedding pictures. I learned that brides in China wear red dresses since it represents good fortune, which is different from our traditional wedding culture. The bike ride provided a great view of the city, and I swear we were smiling under our masks in all of the pictures haha.
Because of the sand storm, we all stayed in the hotel for dinner. The night in was much needed. We hung out together, packed, and prepared for our six-hour train ride to Shanghai tomorrow.
Goodnight from Xi’an!