We wake up at 8:30 again to get breakfast which ends at 9:30. I’m not sure why Chinese kids act like zoo animals. But one kid throws open the mini fridge door with such gusto it nearly hit me before banging against something and slams back at him. Then another kid tries to put buttered toast into the toaster. Luckily a hotel worker stops him.
Where are the parents you ask, I don’t know. Obviously letting their kids run wild.
Breakfast includes scrambled eggs, pork bao, red bean bao, and tea. OL got his toast. We checked email quickly then went to the room to prepare for the Terracotta Soldiers.
We went downstairs and met our taxi guy at 10:15. As we left he stopped and passed him phone to the parking lot attendant. Think she’s his Wife.
It’s about an hour ride to the site. But we had a/c so it was pleasant. The smog here is so thick. OL and both have chronic headaches, tiredness and sinus problems. We both felt super sleepy on the ride there.
Our taxi guy gave us his cell number and his license number so we could find him. Offered to get us a guide but we said no. He pointed us in the direction of the ticket office. And we set out excited for our adventure.
We are harassed several times by guides. The cost like 125 yuan and we aren’t interested. Make my way to the ticket window and buy two tickets for 110 yuan each. The entrance beside the ticket window requires you to have a ticket to ride on the electric car. So we then buy two 5 yuan tickets for the car. So annoying.
There is zero signage to tell you where to go or if there is another entrance. Frustrating. We get in line for the car. It moves quick. We are seated and deposited at the site in a few minutes. But no map. No labels on buildings except in traditional ancient calligraphy.
Wtf. So we go into the nearest building. It turns out to be pit 1. The best pit. With 6000 soldiers and horses. Mind-blowing to see.
Each is unique down to the clothes, calves size, hair style, facial expression.
Wow. It’s a crowded air hanger though. Glad we skipped the audio guide because you can’t hear much in here.
Only downside is you cannot get close to them. Everything is roped and railed off.Grrr. Zoom is helpful but I really wish I could get within 10 feet of them.
The neat thing is most face you as you enter the room.Very awe inspiring.
We walk the entire perimeter once. Then we move on to pit three. It’s very badly Iit. Also there are only a couple dozen soldiers to see. Not so interesting.
Then we walk to pit two. That shit the bed. Allegedly there are 1300 hundred soldiers waiting to be excavated. Yeah since my guidebook was written 5 years ago and they have made zero headway.
Also disappointing is that the one place you can get near the soldiers is a mass of people and they charge 10 yuan for a picture you take yourself. Chaos squared. I wouldn’t mind paying the ten yuan if I could get a picture in an orderly fashion but the Chinese shovvy shovvy pushy pushy cut in front methodology is too much for me.
We walk to the museum which is badly lit and crowded. Recipe for a stampede. It also doesn’t seem to tell you anything about Qin shi Huang and the Terracotta soldiers. Ugh. They do have an exhibit about the museum history. Since its been around like 30 years and all.
We leave to search for toilets.
No signage or maps in front of buildings. Weirdly only signage is behind buildings in English and Chinese. Find toilets and they have western toilet but no toilet paper. No soap and sink not working. Lol.
Thank goodness for wet wipes.
No sign of souvenir shop so I head back to Pit 1 and buy a 40 set of terracotta soldiers on the sly.
We head to exit. No electric car back evidently. We follow exit signs which take us on 15 minute walk to exit past a million sellers of Terracotta soldiers. And fur. Weirdness. It’s tourists central with tons of souvenirs and drinks.
We finally see the movie theater the guidebook talked about. This evidently is the entrance to the Terracotta soldiers if you don’t buy the electric car tickets. It’s a long walk from the ticket booth without signage. We’d never have found it.
We are kinda frustrated and want to leave. But we are also hungry. So I keep reading signage and find a Subway.
We have sandwiches and chill. Then continue on way out. Wander to parking lot and look for driver. He finds us since he moved car.
We are exhausted. Even with the smog haze the sun was bright and the cement ground reflected it in our eyes all afternoon. Ouch.
We decide to nap when we get to hotel.
I have another pounding headache and dizziness. Think its the air quality here.
Except OL can’t sleep and starts flicking through pics on camera as I reach the cusp of sleep. Beeping brings me back and I scold him. Tell him to read his book quietly. He gets through a chapter and falls asleep.
It’s probably 3:30. We wake up at 5ish to yelling Chinese in hallway. But with paper thin walls sounds like they are in the bathroom screaming. Then they rip at the walls and throw metal around. Sounds like a contest to make the most noise. There’s banging and also pounding. This all continues until 6:20.
Evidently construction work in our hotel is between 4:30 and 6:20. Intense.
We want to scream because we so needed to rest.
Finally we are both up, and decide to explore the area more.
We drove by two malls on Jiefang Lu so we decide to check them out. They are a few blocks from hotel. The first is Minsheng department store. The escalators work which is cool. Very little jade and all overpriced. We wander to check out floors.
Bottom floor has super market where we wait in line for oreos behind a woman who can’t find her credit card then leaves to go get some other stuff. Insane. We also pick up bao at bakery for me.
No food places so we leave.
Head to Wan da guang Chang.
Which is not on our Xi’an Map. Still we fall in love. For so many reasons.
First I find a jade snake necklace for 400 yuan. The shop girl freaks at having us as customers and pulls her English speaking friend over. She helps us look at necklace. It’s thick nice carving. Okay color. 400 yuan. I think about it.
They show me another piece that is white with dark green vein in belly. I hate the dark green.
While looking at the one i like, English speaker goes okay 200 yuan. I say okay I’ll buy it.
Shopgirl writes out receipt and we go pay. English speaker takes us to cashier and back. We pick out necklace string. Nice. English speaker starts to leave and shop girl begs her to stay a while til we leave. Lol.
Very sweet to us. English speaker studied at Xian English school.
Shopgirl puts pendant on necklace and gives to me. Too small to fit over my big ass head. We laugh. English speaker fits it to my neck and adjusts the height.
I love this piece. It totally called to me.
Give us bag and box too. But bag is broken we all giggle and they give us a new one.
They were so lovely. We leave very happy and go explore the mall. I got a piece of jade for around $40.
I really love it too.
We wander in mall finding a McDonalds, Ajisen Ramen, and Baskin Robbins. Watsons too where we pick up Listerine and cream for OL.
Fourth and fifth floor have tons of restaurants. We wander checking menus. Find a place we like. Order food by picture. Turns out we ordered 3 different potato dishes. First is eggplant, pepper and potato. Second involves strips of chicken skin with pepper and potatoes. Third is carmelized potatoes. We erupt in giggles. Two totally looked like meat dishes.
So we eat 3 potato dishes.
Ordering soda was also difficult there. We tried English, chinese, etc. No cokes. Tried a second time. I sang ke kou ke le. Then she got it.
Later we wander up to Baskin Robbins for two scoops of ice cream in a cup. This is also difficult. I try English. He looks at me. I try Chinese. He doesn’t get it. I ask for two scoops in a cup. Point at sundae. End up almost getting a sundae. Lol.
Just wanted two scoops of green tea ice cream.
We wander some more. Realize it’s 9:17 and head back to hotel. Love Jiefang Lu shops. Going back tomorrow day. For maidanglao and jade shopping. Lol.