Monday, December 30, 2013

China, part 3: Xi'an

Oddly enough, the place we spent the least time in (only 4 days) was the one that yielded the most photos. This was partly due to Xi'an being where Qingshihuangdi's Mausoleum is. You might know it better as the site of the Terra Cotta Soldiers.

Before we arrived at the archaeological site, we were taken to a modern day manufacturing plant of terra cotta soldier knock-offs. The tour guide we hired for the day would be remiss if she didn't subject us to the shopping opportunities that are rampant in China.

Son2 being a good sport and posing for a cheesy photo:
The coal oven that they fire the figures in, supposedly the same technique used nearly 2000 years ago:
Different sized replicas you can purchase:
Moving on to the 2,000 year old site...
Inside Pit 1…it looked to be the size of a football field:
A panoramic photo:
Partially buried statues in Pit 1:
Pit 2:
Pit 3…still mostly un-excavated:
The statues used to have brightly colored paints, which faded shortly after they were uncovered.
Some nice specimens on exhibit:
Because it was one of the places we had really wanted to see, we took far too many photos to share here, so we'll move on.

There is a place called Wanda Mall fairly close to our hotel in Xi'an. It houses the world's tallest escalator. I am not kidding you. Here's a view of us near the bottom of it:

There is a large Muslim population in Xi'an and one of their food specialties is apparently lamb feet:
Another specialty in Xi'an is something called "Biang Biang mien (noodles)." This is a sign that has the Chinese words (read it left to right). The "biang" part is fabricated. There is no such word traditionally in Chinese. It combines a number of other words, such as "long" and "horse."

One of many statues of heroes:
I really like this photo because it juxtaposes a run down building with a pretty vase of flowers right outside the window…a stark contrast that exemplifies much of what we saw in China.
One of our favorite memories of the China trip was this little hole-in-the-wall joint that only had five things on the menu. You can see the cook/owner in this photo.
When I say "hole-in-the-wall," I am not kidding. The left side had 4 tables for diners, and the right side was what you saw in the previous photo, where the owner cooks the food. The sign above the place is not a sign for the eatery (it'd be a gross exaggeration to call it a restaurant), but for some sort of social service place that existed there previously.
This place served the most delicious cold spicy noodles:
and this amazingly delicious thing that was like a ground lamb "McMuffin." It was so good, the kids must have eaten about 2.5 each.
While the place was a little filthy, we didn't get sick from eating there.

The guys thought this urban chicken was pretty hilarious. As hubby said, it was one street-wise fowl.
But all weird things must come to an end, and we are off to Hong Kong after this! But, first, one final photo of that longest escalator we've ever seen:
Have you ever been on an escalator this tall before?

"I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be." ~ Douglas Adams