This morning we went to a clay factory that made replicas of the Terracotta warriors. We got to make our own out of the clay. And for a special P2P discount..... That’s right, just for us.... because we are such special ambassadors.....everything in the store 40% off! I think the kids are starting to catch on to this junk because some of them asked if they could wait on the bus.
Next we went to the Wild Goose Pagoda.
This is a Buddhist temple. Our guide, Michael, explained monks are people who didn't feel like studying hard in school. They became monks because the government would give them enough to eat and they wouldn't have to study hard. Now, I have never heard of it that way before. I thought it very strange. He also talked about Buddhism being about learning to suffer so that you don't complain about a good life. Not sure if Michael was giving facts or opinions. We walked around the grounds for a while and guess where the meeting place was? That's right, the store!
We drove about an hour outside of the city and for the first time since I have been in China, I saw the sky.
It was almost a little blue! There is so much smog covering these cities, it can be a perfectly sunny day and it still looks like overcast. So we drove to a hotel to have a speech from one of the farmers who found the Terracotta soldiers in 1974. It was pretty cool. He was 79 years old. He was hard of hearing and could barley see. He had giant glasses on and had a cute, old man, smile. Michael told us not to take his picture because he is so old. No idea of the relevance there. I mean, can I just turn the flash off? So this man is one of about 8 men who discovered the Terracotta soldiers buried by Emperor Chin. He told us that he was digging a well for water and pulled up some bricks, then found some pieces of hands. He was scared because finding something underground is bad luck. So he brought the pieces into town and everyone told him to burry them back again or throw them away so he wouldn't have bad luck. He ignored their advice and took them to the local museum. Well lucky him because now he is set up! The government pays him to come and talk to chumps like us for a living.
They also built him and all the other farmers new homes for their families to relocate them. Kitty was laughing because last time she came with a P2P group it was a different farmer. Cheryl suspected that it wasn't even the real guy. Maybe it was some sort of P2P conspiracy and that is why we couldn't take his picture. I can see her point. We would never know the difference! We ended the talk with... wait for it... just for our group, you can buy this special rare book and Farmer Young will sign it for you. You will be the only one to have his signature. And when he dies, it will be so valuable! And just for us... 35 Yuan! How lucky we are! (Hook, line, and sinker).
Finally after lunch we headed to the real Terracotta excavation spot.
This place was more impressive in person than in any book or internet article I have read. It was huge and these warriors were no joke. They were so detailed, no two looked alike. It was interesting to hear about how different outfits and posses mean different things. The height of their shoes had to do with their rank. Even the way their pony tale was tipped meant something (can't remember what and don't want to guess and have someone bust me). According to the history there are over 8000 warriors but they have only uncovered 2000 of them. So at the museum there were three different excavation sites. The first one is the one that everyone has seen in photos before. The giant building where you can see all the warriors all lined up. The next two were smaller and no photos would come out because it was so dark. One of them had a few soldiers in glass cases that you could see up close though. It was pretty amazing.
When we got back to the hotel some of the kids were asking Michael if there was a place to get pizza near the hotel.
We jumped on their bandwagon and ordered a large Pizza-Hut pizza. It was great! I really have been doing well with embracing the culture and trying lots of things I wouldn't try normally however, sometimes the same lazy susan filled with soup, rice and various unidentified meats is trumped by a good, old fashion, greasy pizza!
We had dinner reservations at a dinner theater place. The dinner was dumplings. There were normal ones like beef and fish, scallops and cabbage and then crazy ones like shark fin and walnut. They cleared our plates and then put on a show. It was all traditional dance and music. I was very colorful and entertaining. I loved the dancing girls. They never did anything too complicated or difficult but the choreography was very visual and stunning.