The last few weeks have been super weird, but before I get into that, here’s what was up on my fifth day in China!
Our main priority for the day was to get to the Terracotta Army, about an hour or so out from Xi’an itself. This UNESCO World Heritage site contains thousands of of terracotta statues that were originally made and buried to protect the first emperor in the afterlife. These lifelike statues were made over 2,000 years ago, and many have since suffered a tremendous amount of damage. Archeologists have been painstakingly trying to put the millions of scattered pieces of broken warriors back together for years, while simultaneously working to preserve the pieces.
One of the more famous warriors is the Kneeling Archer, the only piece to have been found in perfect condition. At one point, every soldier was beautifully painted, and a trace amount of colour remains on some of the figures, including this one.
Our tour guides gave us a ton of information on the Terracotta Army, and I have some other notes and helpful tips to share when visiting yourself, but I’ll hold off on those things for now,
because I need to save some content for later. Anyway, on with the rest of the day!
After a few hours spent exploring the various pits and seeing the warriors firsthand, we got back together for the next piece of the day’s adventures. Our visit was to a small art museum back in Xi’an, where we practiced our calligraphy! [Spoiler alert: I am terrible at it.]
I didn’t take to many photographs, but there were a ton of beautiful and historic pieces on display. Plus, I got this great quote from the museum guide, which I will present to you with no context:
“Male concubines. You know, boy toys!”
After making an embarrassment out of myself with my terrible calligraphy, I sucked in a deep breath in preparation for the next, most dreaded part of the day.
Yep. We took a bike ride around the City Wall.
Okay, to be fair, I was pretty optimistic about this part of the trip, mostly because it meant a lot of time on my own and the chance to stretch out my legs. I guess somewhere along the line I forgot that I suck at riding bikes. [True story: I once made the brilliant decision to ride to my friend’s house, then got freaked out by traffic and walked instead, and a bunch of middle-aged dudes who work at Amgen and inexplicably ride their bikes on weekends made fun of me.]
Anyway, long story short, I took too much time [re: was too damn slow] and ended up being so much more behind than everyone else that my teachers sent my FRIEND TO GO GET ME ON A TANDEM BIKE. There now exists a video clip somewhere of me emerging around the corner, completely obscured by my [beefy, football player] friend on the back of a tandem bike, save for the hand I use to flip everyone watching off. [For about 2.5 seconds, because I then use it to grab the handles again because of death.]
Our final event of the day was an evening stroll through the Muslim Quarter’s Night Market. For me, this was one of the highlights of the trip, which sounds ridiculous when you take into account the fact that I climbed the Great Wall of freakin’ China, but it’s true. Walking around with my friends amongst the bustling crowds and drinking in the weird and wonderful booths, I felt like I was seeing the ‘real’ China. [And that’s a term I never use in association with travel, because #stopstigmatizingtourism2k16.] It was an incredible experience, and my only wish is that I could have spent more time there. A must-see for sure!
We opted to walk back to the hotel from the market instead of taking the bus, and got the chance to see the busy nightlife of Xi’an.
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