Terracotta Road Warrior
Xi'an Travel Blog› entry 13 of 14 › view all entries
I arrived in Xi'an at about 10:00AM, Tuesday morning and took a taxi to the Hotel Sofitel, which I had looked at on the internet weeks before at a rate of $165, but didn't book. This part of the trip was on my dime so I really didn't want to spend a lot of money on hotel accomodations and the Sofitel looked really nice plus the rate wasn't too bad. I'd been told, and had read many times that hotel rates in China are totally up for grabs and that only naive business people on expense accounts pay the published rack rate. Furthermore, it was strongly suggested that a person just show up and negotiate a room rate, so that's what I decided to do, though not by choice. When I got to the Sofitel, I told the front desk clerk that I'd like a room for one night and was told that they were totally booked up.
My tour guide, Peter, explained that the reason for the amazingly smoggy air in Xi'An was that the farmers were burning their dried corn stalks. I found that really hard to believe, I mean, they'd have to be burning mountains of corn to generate this much pollution, and, in fact, I later learned that the smog is from industrial plants around the city. I had a fresh pair of contacts in that morning and my eyes were burning like crazy.
I must say that the Terracotta Warriors was the most dramatic sight I've seen, not only on this trip, but in my life. The Terracotta Army was buried with the Emperor of Qin around 200 BC to help rule the empire in the afterlife. Construction of the mausoleum is believed to have taken 700,000 workers 40 years to complete.
After the tour I visited the museum gift shop which was also amazing. If you wanted to buy a life size Terracotta Warrior replica, for your whatever reason, you could for a mere $12,000, and it would be made from the same clay that the original workers used. I opted for a slightly smaller version of the General and the kneeling archer.
There were pictures of practically every head of state during the past 20 years visiting the museum, with the most recent being the President of Costa Rica and his entourage the day before I was there. It's truly one of the most awe inspiring sights you'll ever see and if you ever have the opportunity, don't pass it up.