Agnes and myself are off to asia via St. Petersburg, Moscow before catching the transmongolian and arriving in Beijing on August 27th 2006. That's as far as the exact planning is at right now. Afterwards it'll be travel in China for a few weeks, down to South Korea and then back to China and hopefully reach Tibet. From there cross into Nepal, then India and then Southeast Asia, after that ..... ?

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Kunming post #2 - Xian warriors

Xi'an was the next port of call and it's a popular spot too because of the Terracotta warrior exhibition. Some of the locals seem to have responded to the tourist influx by becoming adept pickpockets and we heard lots of stories of people having valuables lifted while shopping in the city - so watch out!
The old city has a big wall around it, lit by red lanterns at night. It has a large muslim quarter also, maybe because this was where the ancient silk road originated.

The Terracotta warrior tour: again organised through our hostel and some minor details left out like the visit to a factory making very expensive terracotta copies and bringing us to a place in the middle of nowhere for lunch (not included). It's better off get the public bus to the site and save yourself the waste of half a day ....

Anyway, despite this false start, the exhibition is one of the most impressive things I've seen in China. It's all housed in a very touristy complex, with the main exhibition in an aircraft type hangar building. This is good because even if it is mobbed with tourists, there is plenty of space for everyone. When you enter the main building you are faced with hundreds of warriors - a startling sight! Originally, they were all placed in between the walls, facing east and covered with a roof before being covered over with earth, so as to protect the tomb of the emporer Qin Shi Huang. Somehow the roof was either purposely destroyed or collapsed, so very few of the figures were recovered undamaged. Most of them are in terracotta fragments and pieces which have to painstakingly cemented together. What you have is the worlds biggest jigsaw puzzle - estimates for gluing the whole army back together range from 50 to 100 years!

Xi'an has a street full of bars which is close to the hostel we stayed at - Shuyuan, not recommended, fairly worn out, could do with a revamp. Anyway, we went to the strip one night with our two German friends Petra and Christian, but it was dead except for a few foreigners. Agnes ordered a banana split in the hostel, which arrived with parsley at each end and cold baked beans between the scoops of ice-cream! We thought the staff were playing a joke, but the waitress said the unusual additions were to amke it look prettier ....


Post a Comment

<< Home