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visit the terracotta army

“This soldier wears a serene expression. He looks determined and solemn.”

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Saturday 30th March 1985
Local children near First Emperor's Tomb

Local children near First Emperor's Tomb

Get up, find restaurant, top floor block 2. None of the waitresses will serve me. A classic example of Chinese sullen indifference. Three members of staff are standing around determinedly doing nothing, including the one behind the till. Eat up someone else's breakfast, and leave.
 Meet the Swedes in the street. They caught a bus outside the railway station to the terracotta soldiers yesterday. I do the same, 80Fen. Change buses, and further 20F. Drive past the tomb proper, a vast dome of unexcavated earth. One and a half kilometers away is a huge hangar covering the excavated soldiers.
 Many souvenir hawkers and change money women. Best price 165 renminbi to the pound. Well laid out museum, but not much English. “This soldier wears a serene expression. He looks determined and solemn.” I’m not surprised-he’s been stuck in the ground for 2000 years! They are impressive pieces of workmanship, and their sheer number is awesome. How many more must there be still buried.? There are about 800 figures excavated so far. DSC0000215.jpg
Qin Shihuang’s tomb was started when he came to the throne, a whole generation of artisans built this elaborate fantasy for the afterlife. Their casual mass graves have been found nearby.
 Eat some noodles with a few chives and chillies on top. 1 Yuan what a rip off!
 Catch bus back and lady next to me has a few words of English, leg, nose, car etc. this provides enough material for her to entertain those around her, in fact she tells them all sorts of fanciful things about me. Someone insists on giving me his biro. Good laugh all the way to Xian. They direct me to the number 5 trolley bus for Banpo village. This is in the same general direction as the soldiers, but not so far.
 At Banpo a large Neolithic site (? 6000 a D.) has been excavated, this was put on display in the late 50’ s. It is well displayed with lots of English. The site was occupied for over one thousand years. You can see the development of house styles. They buried their children in pots. High infant mortality evidently. Exquisite pottery and fine bone fish hooks.

Get back to Xian about 5. Wander around street market, chickens being gutted, fresh meat dyed livid red, pastry rollers making stuffed fried savoury rolls, fruit, veg, dried fish, dried spices, and great slabs of unsliced noodles. Eat there.

Making dumplings

Making dumplings

Creep back to the Renmin, pay in FEC’s, meet Fred the German from Beijing who is on his way to Lhasa. Have a wash and shave in his room. Leave at 10 and bluff my way into the first class waiting room, to avoid the dense crowds of huddled humanity rolled up in their cotton quilts on the pavement. Nice hot tea and fitful sleep until 3. 30 am, when train for Chongquing arrives.

Posted by 1985 trip 16:00 Archived in China

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