Coming out of the station at Xi'an I was struck by one obvious difference in the people that came towards us - there weren't so many street sellers with cheap souvenirs but instead there were a lot of beggars, some with severe physical disabilities. En route to the coach there were strange things for sale on the streets.
It was the large claw, second from the bottom that caught my eye - could it be a tiger or maybe the endangered Imperial Guardian Lion?
After a quick check-in at the hotel, we were whisked off to see the Terracotta Army. I tried to find a photo that best shows how enormous the site is - this is Pit 1 and you get a sense of the scale of it looking at the people in the background. It's fairly dark as it is lit by natural light and no flash photography is allowed. The guide explained that the ridges along the top of the pits were for wooden beams to enclose the corridors - I imagine those figures and faces must have looked very spooky in those dark enclosed spaces! He also told us the figures were destroyed by the men who were forced to make them when they learned that they were to be sacrificed after it's completion, but that doesn't seem to be a common explanation.
Something I didn't realise was that the figures were originally brightly coloured. Each one is unique, it would have been nice to have had time to get a really good look but there was only time to walk down one side, and get a quick sketch.
This is Pit 2.
I imagine this must be how the figures looked when they were first discovered.
Sign on the way out. I now recognise the Chinese characters for entry and exit!
In fact, we did even have a quick Chinese calligraphy lesson and explanation of the development of Chinese characters! We climbed a lot of stairs to get to this classroom so I was surprised afterwards to hear that this is where the elderly come for their classes! (I must say the elderly in China seem to lead very interesting lives!)
Lunch was the usual fare except that some of the more adventurous (all male, of course!) tried this snake wine! It was said to be acceptable, nothing strange, so I wondered what purpose the poor snake (or in this case, three snakes) served?
We also went to the medicine market, and again reptiles featured prominently!
I don't need to say how much I love markets for their photo opportunities!
This photo hasn't been enhanced!
Other than the snake skins and the starfish many of these things for sale are a mystery to me so I'll leave these photos without comment!