The Terracotta Army

This morning we were up early to grab some dumplings for breakfast before catching a bus to see the Terracotta warriors. The bus took over an hour and the journey was not all that pleasent. I was sat behind the driver with a mop jammed into my leg, and his cigarette smoke wafting into me. The constant honking of horns is really starting to grate with me now. It is insessent, and seems to happen whether it needs to or not. We have spent a lot of time in cities and buses and so it is inescapable. It is really doing my head in and I long for a few days without them. Chen was not allowed to be our guide for the day, and so we hired a local guide at the museum gateshead lead us through the complex.

The complex itself is ideally designed for extracting the maximum cash from any visitors. There are two gates – the first of which leads you on a long ’u’ shaped walk through rows of vendors greeting a kind of market based gauntlet run. The second is the direct route to the pits, made even quicker by use of an electric buggy but costs an additional fee. After our walk… We started at pit 3 before moving onto pit 2, the museum and then the most recognisable of the pits, pit 1.

The sight of the warriors in the flesh is stunning. To see the intricacy and detail in the work, yet know that they had been covered by dirt and undiscovered for so long is staggering.

Yet it is difficult not to feel a sense of anti-climax.

The warriors have been so well documented that the physical act of being there adds little to why you have already seen of them. In fact the images may even be better as you can get closer and unobstructed views without a thousand over people clambering for a view.

It was still a tremendous thing to see, and I would recommend a visit. But I could not recommend it as the sole reason to visit Xi’an. The city is far too Interesting in itself to suffer that injustice. However, should you find yourself in this area of the world, then it should be on your list of things to see.

In the evening we went for our now traditional group meal after which a few of us decided to go for a walk around the inner walls.

We retraced many of the steps that I had taken with Karen the previous evening, only this time the streets bustled with the I’ve that had been missing during the rain. Parts of the city, particularly around the artists quarter are just pleasant places to be, and without the stifling humidity of Shanghai it is enjoyable to just stroll with a cold juice from a nearby stall and take it all in.

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