Xi'an Travel Blog› entry 17 of 22 › view all entries
At 9:30 this morning we were loaded into a 10-seater van with an ill-tempered air conditioning system and on our way to the Terracotta Warriors. In the front seat was our tour guide, a young Chinese woman named Joyce, and our psychotic driver, who, like many drivers in the country, find it necessary to weave in and out of traffic, cross over into oncoming traffic, and completely ignore any and all pedestrians. You can't blame him for the latter offense, however, because if the pedestrians had the right-of-way in China, no one would get anywhere. In front of us were two twenty-something males from Austrailia, along with a Chinese woman, while behind us sat two older men from Austrailia and another woman from another Chinese Provence.
We were thankful to be on an English-speaking tour this time around. However, once again, there were some surprise stops in store for us. Our first stop was Banpo, a neolithic village that dates back 6,000 years. We were ushered into an old building where we were instructed to look at what appeared to be a dirt floor with a few holes in it, which we were told was a village at one point. We were also directed towards a diarama of the village, which hadn't been dusted in at least three decades, and next we watched a five minute video that was poorly translated into English.
After spending a rather boring forty minutes at the unwanted stop, we were back in the overheated bus and on our way to a second unwanted stop.
We actually arrived at what appeared to be the site of the Terracotta army, but we were taken to a room where we were told to pay an additional forty RMB per person for a buffet.
We were positive that we were now going to the wanted destination. Then Joyce led us up to a building labeled "Cinema." We were forced into a crowded standing room to watch a twenty minute video about the emperor Qin Shi Huangdi, the despotic ruler who unified China over 2,000 years ago and had the terracotta army built to guard his massive tomb.
At last, five hours into the tour, we arrived at Pit One, which is the most impressive pit that contains over 6,000 warriors arranged in battle formation. We stood in awe of the sight and the history right in front of us.
After returning from an exciting day, we had a dinner of rice, dumplings, and wantons, before returning to the bustling Muslim Quarter, to experience more of the lively atmosphere.