Xian: Part One

Today was a very long day.

Early this morning we left for Xian. The domestic flights section of the Beijing airport was very interesting. We had a lot of fun looking through the convenient store next to our gate. Among other strange things, they sold a whole duck in a bag. This was the first clue that maybe the airline food wasn’t so great.

The flight itself was only an hour and a half. It wasn’t bad, until lunch was served. I got the shrimp and rice but it was not shrimp… and I would never like to find out what that was. It was in the shape of a meatball and resembled spam more than anything.

When we arrived, our bus took us straight to an underground museum. Before looking through the museum, we had the chance to meet with the archeologist and visit her workspace. Her and other workers are restoring relics from nearby tombs. So these women find pieces of artifacts and work at putting them together. The restored artifacts can be found in the underground museum. 

Afterlife is very important to the Chinese so they believed that the emperor needed to be buried with a replica of everything he needed to help him thrive in the afterlife. Everything from workers to soldiers to animals to pottery to transportation. The list goes on.

In the tomb, the artifacts were placed in specific pits depending on their use. There’s an agriculture pit and a jail and a pit for horses and carriages, etc. Even the people whom the emperor wishes to never see again have their own replicas and their own pit to make sure they will not see him in the after life.

These are called naked terra-cotta soldiers and like all the other artifacts were found in pits surrounding the tomb. A wood ceiling was made to keep these in but after two thousand years, that wood has caved in causing the men to fall and break. 

Tomb robbers dug up this section expecting to find treasures but to their dismay, they only found clay figures. Instead of covering up the hole they dug, they left it exposed to the rain and mud. Strangely enough, that helped keep the men standing upright as they were meant to stand. 

Archeologists have been working on restoring relics since the 70s and 80s so this is only the beginning. They are very proud of the work they’ve uncovered and of their culture.

After the museum we drove into the city and visited the wall. This is the view of their moat from the top of the wall. It has been completely restored so it is very safe and stable to walk around. It is supposedly one of the only city walls that is still completely intact. 

Dinner was on our own tonight so I ventured around a small part of Xian trying to find comfort food. A foreigner can only take so much Chinese food until cravings for comfort food start kicking in. I spotted a KFC so after I figured out that crossing the street at major intersections required taking an underground tunnel, I was very excited for some fried chicken and biscuits and mashed potatoes. All my excitement washed away the second I walked into the restaurant and spotted the pictures on the menu. Rice and mushrooms and soups… where is the fried chicken?! I found popcorn chicken on the menu and couldn’t even stomach it, it had to have been the spiciest and grossest popcorn chicken I’ve ever eaten. 

Needless to say, I signed up for a massage at the hotel’s spa and enjoyed every single second of it.