Saturday, January 19, 2013

Amazing Race

We have always said that we could be contestants on the Amazing Race show and today we had our own little trial run. We opted out of the Beijing trip that some of the other families in our travel group with CCAI decided to do. We wanted to come to China a few days early like we did last time to get rested from the trip and to get used to the time difference before we got Eli, so we decided to do this little side trip to Xi'An on our own.

When we were in Hong Kong, we had no problem finding someone who spoke English. Many signs were also in English, so getting around was fairly easy. That is not the case here in Xi'An. Outside of our hotel, we have only come across a couple of people who speak English and there are no signs in English.

We knew coming here that we absolutely wanted to see the Terracotta warriors, so we set off this morning with some direction from the hotel staff and walked about 15 minutes to the bus station. The bus station was near the train station and the closer we got, the busier it was. We had a hard time finding the bus station. We were told what bus number to look for once we got there. Michael walked up to someone that looked official and held up his fingers while pointing to a parked bus. The man was very nice and walked us down the road a bit and pointed in the direction we needed to go. We found the bus station and the right bus number and hopped on. The bus drove about 45 minutes and we were brought to the Terracotta warriors. Our hotel staff told us that there are English speaking guides outside and that we could hire one of the guides to take us through the museums. A very nice lady named "Jennie" approached us immediately and guided us through the pits that house the warriors.

A farmer found the first pit in 1974. This is pit #1 where many warriors have been unearthed. There is still work going on to unearth the rest of the warriors here and put the broken pieces back together. A neat fact is that no two warriors are identical. Here are just a few of the many pics that we took.


It is believed that the warriors were made 2200 years ago to protect the emperor in his 2nd life. The workers who created the warriors were buried alive to keep the secret. The estimate is that thousands of men lost their lives.

Pits 2 and 3 are not as large. The warriors in Pit 2 are mostly still under the earth. This picture shows one section that has been unearthed and the warriors in their broken pieces.

Pit 3 is deeper and is where the generals were found. Here is a picture ...
When the warriors were found, they were in color. As soon as they were exposed to oxygen, the color disappeared. There are 5 more pits, but those have not been unearthed at all. Jennie did a great job telling us the history. We also met the farmer at the end of the tour who found the warriors. We are so glad we were able to see the warriors this time of year, even though it was cold. In the busy season, the warriors are seen by 80,000 people per day.
Jennie told us about a different bus that would get us back to the city quicker and one that supposedly did not make stops. She pointed us in the direction of the bus stop. We found the bus easily, but the bus ended up making several stops, one of which was at a gas station so the driver could use the restroom. We picked up so many passengers that it was standing room only. We got back safely, although I swore we were going to be in many accidents along the way - crazy driving!!
There aren't many tourists here in Xi'An this time of year and we really stick out. We get lots of looks and stares, but everyone is friendly.
Tomorrow we take the bullet train to Zhengzhou. This is the capital city of the Henan province. Eli will be brought to us in Zhengzhou on Monday morning! We're almost there and can't wait to get him in our arms.



  1. Wow, so cool and interesting!!!!! Loving your posts, keep 'em coming! :)

  2. Not long now..... Can't wait for Monday's post!!!!! :)