Day 6 of my trip to China started off with a tour to see The Terracotta Army & then continued on a tour around Xi'an.
Today we will be going to see The Terracotta Army, Small Wild Goose Pagoda, trying our hand at making dumplings before having a dumpling dinner and then seeing a Tang Dynasty folklore show. Before all the excitement begins I have a large breakfast to set me up for the day, you never know when you may not eat for a while.
We arrive at the grounds of The Terracotta Army which are huge and are given some good news. We have been able to get our coach to drop us off right at the entrance rather than the main car park, this saves us a long walk in the hot sun & is only given to a few coaches each day.
On the way to see the Warriors, we are given the history of how they were found by a farmer and how he had all his land taken from him by the government. He was given the grand sum of 30 Yuan as recompense (around £3), a government official years later found out and he was given a job at the centre to earn some money. He now signs his autograph to a book about the Terracotta Army. In most Western countries this now blind man would have become a millionaire, living a life of luxury. We are told that he is here today and are able to get copies of the book and he signs them for us.
We walk around Pit 1 which is the pit that everybody sees in all the photos or television programmes. The Warriors here are very impressive but there are large areas that are not excavated yet as they are trying to find a way to excavate without causing damage to the figures. When they are uncovered the air damages the figures & they are trying to limit this as much as possible.
After Pit 1 we walk to Pit 2 which was destroyed during a revolution and is filled with broken & smashed warrior figures. It's a shame that people destroy history all over the world in this way. We should preserve as much as possible and teach the truth about what the people were revolting over.
Pit 3 is empty but there remains more at the centre that still has to be excavated and this will be a very large exhibit in years to come when the figures are excavated and put on display.
I was walking around with a sceptical friend who said that she believed the warriors were all fake. She believed that it had been put together by the Chinese government to attract tourists to the area. The Warriors had been discovered in 1974 and she believed this was no coincidence since Disney World in Florida had been founded in 1971 and the Chinese had wanted to get more tourists and had no Mickey Mouse to drag them in. We then started to wonder what American discovery had led the Chinese to quickly throw up the Great Wall & to declare it to be a World Wonder. Mel you made me laugh so much this day, if I ever go to see the Sphinx, the Pyramids, Chichen Itza or any other great wonders, I'd love for you to come too so that I could hear your take on these other fakes.
Small Wild Goose Pagoda.
We were only at the Small Wild Goose pagoda for a short time which was a shame as the grounds were beautiful. Whilst there I did have a bang at the large Morning Bell Chimes of the Pagoda, that are in the gardens. It is said striking the bell can stop calamities, bring happiness & good luck. I strike it three times and get the waters in the surrounding tubs to overflow, I am told this will bring good luck, happiness & stop calamities. This is a bit of luck as the very large American who went before me just got a dull thud & no water movement. It just goes to show you, it's not the size of your clanger or the force behind it but the way in which you use it that gets results.
Dumpling making lesson.
This evening we are taken to a restaurant where we are given a lesson on making Chinese dumplings. We are told that each dumpling is a different shape depending on its filling. For instance, a duck dumpling is the shape of a duck, a fish dumpling is the shape of a fish & a cabbage dumpling is the shape of a cabbage. Unfortunately, all of my dumplings looked like an exploded bomb or a disabled animal of some sort. Tracy did make a super looking Cornish Pasty dumpling but I'm not sure what the filling we had all been given was.
Now for the apology, sorry Rob but you're supposed to cook the dumplings before you eat them. For anyone that wondered why myself, my wife & my daughter were all laughing hysterically it was because Rob was eating his as soon as he made them.
We all learnt that it was easier to eat them than to make them. We were then taken to the restaurant section where we were given 18 different dumplings for dinner. Some tasted great, others not so good, but once again Rob provided us with some humour when he informed us that he didn't like them. Must have been because he had filled up on uncooked ones already.
Tang Dynasty Show.
The Tang Dynasty Show had several different acts appearing in it, but not, as many of us had expected, any acrobats. The musicians that started were probably very good at what they did but I couldn't hear them over the noise of a cat being strangled nearby. The dancers were all very good and even some of the stories that were told in Chinese you could follow to some degree but on the whole, the show was not a hit with my travelling companions.
When we left we were given a program for the show which explained in English what each of the acts was about. I can't help feeling that if we had been given this before the show we would have understood & enjoyed the show more.