This is the last post of our trip to Xi’an, and the last schedule post of our recent trip to China.
It deals with the most amazing thing I saw this year: the Terracotta Army. It’s often called the Terracotta Warriors, but it is not merely a number of buried soldier-dolls. For reasons I’ll speculate at below, the Terracotta forces are well organized and clearly well-run in their burnt-earth world.
So come with us, and experience that wonder of the world only discovered in the 1970s: the Terracotta Army.
… and took a countryside bus for 7 RMB (less than one dollar). Besides seeing no other tourists and plenty of farmers, the sites by the road were pretty interesting too. I’ve mentioned that Xi’an is touristy before — but did you know that it’s also home to an ancient Egyptian civilization?
Once we were in the Terracotta parking lot, we noticed that the Communist party, as the guiding ideology of the monument, erected a giant statue to the Qin Dynasty.
Before we entered the park itself we ate at the Hong Kong Star Restaurant, which is just outside the grounds
The experience was bizarre. The service was the same ernest-incompetence that characterizes so much of Chinese entry-level labor (as opposed to the stereotypically American attitude of surly indifference), and they stole from us through a fake receipt. But the “pizza italiante,” when it finally came, was delicious. One of the best I have ever had.
The entry gate reminded me of the exterior of Mount Rushmore
Once we were inside the gate there was still a long way to go
We stepped into Pit 1, and at first could only see other tourists. What was the big deal?
I suddenly realized, looking at the scope and enormity of the pit, that the Qin Emperor planned on invading heaven. The Terracotta Army is no honor guard or collection of trusty friends-and-relatives. Rather, it is a spawling Grand Army in at least four pits with hierarchical leadership, Imperial look-alike sedans, and all the rest. The Emperor was prepared for both conventional resistance and assassination attempts from the forces of Heaven. And he planned to win.
Finally, though, admist this grandeur there was goofiness too.
Who can resist dressing up as the warriors of ancient days and putting on a big smile? Especially after such a trip as ours!