April 28, 2013

My China Adventure – On to Xian

What I love about traveling with a tour company is how they take care of you. For example, today was a travel day so we left our checked bags outside our hotel room doors, they were picked up and taken to the airport and checked in, and our wonderful guide Oscar kept all the claims checks. We didn’t have to deal with them again until we got to Xian, where we just identified which was ours and then they were whisked off to our new hotel. So easy. Who doesn’t love being taken care of?
We arrived late in the evening in Xian and went directly to our lovely hotel, the Grand Metropark. It wasn’t until the next morning that I realized it was a beautiful room with a hideous view. China 001
Ah, well…
In the morning we went to the Shanxi Museum where we saw some beautiful artwork, got to try our hand at Chinese writing and had an opportunity to buy (imagine that) student art, some of which was quite beautiful, though I managed to resist temptation.
Then off to see the terra cotta warriors. What an amazing sight – life-size terra cotta soldiers and horses that were commissioned by an emperor to guard his tomb. It was unearthed in 1974 after being buried for 22 centuries. Can you imagine? Some of them are still in pieces. How they put these things back together is mind boggling.
Have I told you I’m not a history person? I like to experience it rather than read about it or be told about it. My mind just does not absorb historical facts. So in the bus on the way to see the warriors our local guide told us everything there was to know about those warriors and to me it was white noise, all that information bouncing around my head and nothing penetrating.
Once we got there, tho, I found it fascinating. For the first 20 minutes. I mean really…how many terra cotta statues can you look at? They estimate there are something like 9000. But if you’ve seen one…well, they are a little different but really…how many do you need to see? We were there for hours. Do I have to tell you…?
Afterwards, of course there’s a gift shop and voila! there was the farmer who discovered the archaeological site as he was digging for a well in 1974. He was sitting at a table looking bored, signing books for tourists.
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Later we went out for a dumpling dinner, our best meal as a group. Once again there was a big lazy susan on the table and they brought out dish after delicious dish of dumplings. It’s interesting, as a group we got one drink that was included with our meal and it could be beer or tea or soft drink. We could ask for wine or something else, and pay for it, but you likely wouldn’t get it before the meal was over. My friend Joann had a totally different experience in China. She was on a business trip and was served shots at every meal, and not just one. She said she had to have a bottle of water at her feet to water down the drinks and felt like she needed rehab when she got home. Me? I felt as if I’d been in rehab.
After dinner we went to a Tang Dynasty show, which was…interesting and colorful.
View Dumpling dinner
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Here are the rest of the posts:
Part 1 

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