Major weekdays, I’m off to Xi’an, central China. After leaving Shanghai I take the plane to Xi’an, sleep on a small bed in a dorm, and hop a train. The train cars have a wonderful view of the Qin River and Ai River. On my way to Xi’an I buy new boots at a flea market and wrap them around my feet, ready for the rodeo riding feeling of my riding school career when I return.
I find this city to be quite central. The trails go west from Xi’an, and running north from Xi’an, the Terracotta Army is walked from the city center into the mountains of Jiuzhaigou. I spend about 3 days there on my way back. I’m curious to see why the Chinese call the “Vale of Terracotta” the “golden relics.” For me, it’s a great symbol for the sacrifices that the Chinese made in 1914, when over 100,000 male humans were baked in the earth in perpetuity, to celebrate the resurrection of the gods.
Besides the luxury history and dinosaur hunters, Xi’an is a great city for entertainment, culture, food, and shopping. It’s a modern industrial city on the banks of the River Qi. It has a very modern area that is a bridge to the past, and a zone of winding and twisting streets that symbolize the old.
I discovered that pictures of the Terracotta Army have been seen everywhere. I was really confused by the guidebooks for the Terracotta Army that use angles. How can they use angles? The Times Square corner where we bought our tickets for my husband was also a bookstore and souvenir store. When we got to the front doors of the store, we left our wallets in a pail so they wouldn’t be sniffed by souvenir hawkers. As it turned out, the only tickets left were for trips to the Imperial Hospital museum, but on my visit I didn’t get past security and had to leave my wallet on the street. If we found a new “location free” passport the only places you can stay and not be an “ostentatious tourist” are in the Museum of the Terracotta Army.
Xi’an is a good place to travel if you want to know about China’s history, but don’t want to be intimidated by the Chinese. Then, if you can find some rolling hills on the Terracotta Army trail to ride, rides are better. When I was 10, my mother insisted that I leave my hair in a roll and set it on fire to make it look like a rock.
Here are a few tips to help you visit the Terracotta Army in Xi’an.
Run properly on the city roads of Xi’an. An advanced pedestrian is advised to try to run fast along the city streets but not in the lanes with wide signs that tell you to slow down. You don’t want to run over someone when you brake suddenly. Walking at a sedate pace helps you take in more of the city’s sights and doesn’t impede traffic. Also, pay attention to drive instructors. There is a tremendous amount of metal digging around, but many drivers and instructors don’t recognize the pitiful pitiful crustaceans. You don’t want to get behind the wheel of a truck or a bus at around 4 in the afternoon to see the cockfights. You don’t want to get stuck driving your car around gauntlet fields or pavilions because of abandoned cars or overgrown trees. Parking is a luxury at several of the attractions that surround the Terracotta Army. The tickets were very expensive, but parking was inexpensive.The Terracotta Army tours in Xi’an are very advanced. You need to have good language skills, because there are a lot of people who don’t understand the Chinese. It’s a great education in social psychology in how people communicate.
The most important to remember is that the Terracotta Army was made to be seen. Try to pay attention and stay on course. You may think that you have met the guardian of the Terracotta Army, but you haven’t yet.
Shanghai Where I Grow Tea for One