Our second and final day in Xi’an was the first day of the trip with inclimate weather, which I was not aware of so I wore shorts and a sleeveless shirt in preparation for the bike ride later in the day. Thankfully it wasn’t too cold, but I did look a little out of place since others in the group were wearing jeans and sweatshirts. Anyway, the first stop of the day was to the Terracotta Warriors. Really my overall impression was that it was really cool, but at the same time, it’s a place that you only need to visit once. That being said, it was all still very impressive and interesting. We learned that the site was only recently discovered in the 70s by a farmer after centuries of remaining hidden. The roughly 8,000 statues were built for the purpose of guarding the first Qin emperor’s tomb in the afterlife. Apparently they were all originally painted and still retained their color when first unearthed, but faded within minutes of being in the air despite measures taken by scientists. This is one of the reasons why archeologists are holding off on excavating the remainder of the statues. One little tidbit that I wouldn’t have learned if Dr. Li hadn’t told me is the fact that once the emperor had been buried, in order to conceal the location of his father’s resting place, the next emperor ordered the execution of every person who had worked on the tomb (thousands of people).
After a while of fighting through crowds of tourists to try to get the best pictures, most of the group headed outside to wait to leave in a less cramped space. This is where we first saw a large group of people in matching bright yellow shirts (including a number of attractive girls), who would become a sort of subplot of the day if you will. Since they obviously weren’t Chinese, Matt and Joe went over to see if they could talk to some of the girls. They returned a few minutes later, having learned that the group was Norwegian but not having much success otherwise. And that was that… or so we thought. We left the warriors behind and headed to lunch, where after sitting down, who do we see but the Norwegians coming in after us. With the rest of us gassing them up, Matt and Joe went back over and had a much longer conversation this time, but still came away without any Snapchats unfortunately. With that, we concluded lunch and headed back into the city to bike around the city wall. It was at this point that we realized the weather had progressed from simply cloudy to a full-out dust storm that had blown up from a desert in the west. So we all copped some face masks and set off on the 9 mile loop around the city. Despite peddling into the wind and getting dust in my eyes, it was still a good time. It was a really cool way to see the city, plus the fact that the wall itself was much older than our country and it is just integrated with the modern city. At the conclusion of the ride, we were hanging out waiting for the last of the group to show up when I glimpsed a patch of yellow down the wall. Sure enough, the Norwegians had once again caught up to us. However, Joe and Matt were hesitant to approach the girls once again. After a few minutes, Matt agreed to give it a go, but Joe was out, so I accompanied him in his third attempt to charm the ladies. So we shot our shot, but unfortunately came up empty. They thought we were nice though.