Bright and early on the second day, we grabbed a hotel breakfast, which included my now-addiction, warm soy milk. <3 We boarded a bus that was suggested by the hotel, which would take us to the Terra Cotta warriors, a few hours outside the city. Yay! Except... what we weren't told is that it was a tour bus that would take us to a million other places first and spend a little time at each one (none of which were really any interest). So it took my friends getting very upset at the drivers and the hotel, and they agreed to drive us to a normal bus stop and we took a taxi there. ^_^;; Apparently this is quite normal in China-- very deviously trying to get you to spend time and money on things that you don't care about! ^^;; But evnetually we ended up being where we wanted--- my first impression was "why oh why is it so far away??!" There is basically a HUGE park inside the gates, which might be nice in the summer, but in sub-freezing temperatures with arctic winds blowing, was kind of like an extended torture... >.>;; But we made it eventually, went into a rather interesting museum (apparently China invented everything.. oh propaganda! <3), and finally made it to the big show! The thousands of Terra Cotta soldiers!
The whole place was enormous, and so... hollow. There were a lot of people looking over the rails at the excavation taking place, but still it felt so.. empty. I'm not sure if that makes sense, but it felt so large.. The dedication that must have went into making these soldiers, individually designed and crafted, was amazing....
We made it back in time to go out and check out the Stele Forest, which turned out to be surprisingly exciting! Inside were thousands of carved slabs, written in chinese so ancient that most locals could never read and understand it. Amazing.. ^-^ At the end of the museum, there was a room dedicated to making rubbings of some of the tablets. Wow! You could watch them being done, and we spent quite a time in there. I bought a few, which I am eventually going to frame. One is in one of my pictures, and the other is a horizontal piece that says "Don't judge a book by it's cover", or um.. something like that.. we think. It's going to be expensive to frame them, but SO worth it.... <3
So very awe-inspiring....
(Some of the pics are a littly fuzzy... the light inside was a bit dim and I can only compensate so much.. gomen!)
The hall was huuuge.. (how many times have I said the same thing now? ^^;; I really wish that I could give a sense of the size.. Next time I will definitely bring a video camera!
I'm not sure why these were standing like this, on top of the dig sites. I think they may have recently found them. But it seems kind of like they're standing there to awai being placed in the chambers below, which is kind of.. cheating. Don't you think? ....
Butts!! Horse and soldier!!
Playing around outside.. Just inside these walls are the work of millions of unnamed peoples..kind of awe-inspiring!
Outside was this.... fountain? Well... yeah..
Yeah, this was one of my favorite photos of the day.. Can you tell? XD
On the way back inside of Xi'an, we passed over this gorgeous canal....
I wasn't the only one taking pictures.. XD
Inside the Stone Tablet forest, there was even a braille inscription. Wow, one of the first examples of accomodation that I saw. It was very refreshing!!
Inside the museum..
And here is the guy painting one of the rubbings that I bought! It's a picture of bamboo, accompanied by the following poem:
The paper has just been applied to this one, but no ink has been rubbed on yet.. So cool! It was really neat watching the workers.
The city walls, which used to ring the entire city and protect it from invasion. Now they're open, and they only envelop a tiny part of the inner city.
Never room with a photographer! Never!!!!! :>
Aaaand the next morning, we were off in a taxi to the airport to catch a flight to Harbin. (aka: the coldest place I have ever been during the so-far-short span of my life!!) Oh had I known..!!
Some artistic-y shots through the window.. (don't mind the dirt on the window! At least it wasn't inside!! ..surprisingly..)
My travel companions graciously offered me the window seat.. ^^
And I was TIRED, but I loved it!! ♥
I will say: the airports are DIRTY and SMOKY and veryveryverycold, and the bathrooms... Ugh! But I will leave that for a rant some other time. Let's just say that the japanese toilets are nothing-- I seriously thought that I would never see a toilet in a developed city as bad as the japanese squatters, which often have poop piled up right behind them. But oooooh was I proven wrong! O.o;;
And it was off to HARBIN! (Did I already say that?) Cold but snowy and beautiful!! And near Russia! But apparently Russians have small feet too and alas my size is not offered. -.-;;
Umm, ILOVECHINAdespite it's manymanymany faultsYAY!!