Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Xian Journal Day 6 Terracotta Army Part 1

Hello Midweek! Our China series travel to... the Terracotta Army, see all China posts here. There is quite a few things we saw on this day I am splitting it up into 2 posts.

At 6:30 in the morning we were awakened by loud disco music. Suspicious of the guests across the hall, I reached for the phone to report this considerably rude incident when David opened the curtains to find the public square alive with locals. Groups of people had gathered to exercise, there was tai chi, dancing with fans or handkerchiefs, aerobics, etc. As we watched we ate a breakfast of Chinese buns and planned to head down for a closer look later that week.
Our only agenda for the day was to visit the Terracotta Army. The hotel staff directed us to take 2 buses, one to the Xian Railway Station and another to the army. At the train station we searched for number 306 located in the south east corner of the parking lot. We turned too soon and ended up in a residential area. People approached us and offered to take us to see the Terracotta Army but we ignored them. On the internet, fellow travellers cautioned against 'shopping tours' where visitors eventually get to see the army but only after hours of souvenir stops. It took 2 kind strangers to direct us the right way before we found the bus pictured below.
The correct bus indicated departure and arrival points and all stops in between by the door.
Along the way, the bus circled the biggest flower basket we ever saw.
By the road, fruit stands such as this selling farm produce. We discovered each Chinese region has their specialty produce, for Xian pomegranates come into season in October.
The bus picked up more visitors at a parking lot, where a whole row of pomegranate stands were in the process of setting up.
Drying corn on the side of the road, just like we saw in documentaries about China.
A construction site, it seemed bricks were taken from an old wall and reused to build the new one at the front.
A PetroChina gas station, we wondered how much gas were in China.
Later on in our trip we managed to capture some gas prices. The sign said 4.45 RMB per litre, about 64 cents Canadian. At that time in Vancouver (October 2007), gas prices were around $1 a litre, the Chinese paid less for their gas.
One of several souvenir shops along the way, when we saw them we got excited as we knew the army was close by.
On the bus the ticket seller announced 3 main stops: Huaqing Hot Springs, Emperor Qin Shi Huang's Mausoleum and Terracotta Army. She persuaded us into stopping at Huaqing Hot Springs for a look so we did... to find per entrance fee 70 RMB! We also noted it was very crowded at this famous but very small site, thus headed back to the bus stop where thankfully in 5 minutes the next bus came.

The first bus ticket cost 6 RMB, the second cost 3 RMB, in total less than 10 RMB per adult was spent. This worked out to $1.50 Canadian, we discovered traveling by bus to tourist spots was very reasonable in China. This little girl was with her grandfather on the same bus, they smiled and chatted with each other on the way. They stopped at the Terracotta Army but did not enter the site, instead wandered away hand in hand as she hopped along. For locals, bus rides could be an enjoyable trip in itself.
Part 2 of Terracotta Army will be continued next week!

3 comments:

  1. Cliffhanger! LOL! I love your attention to details. Felt like I was there.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ben and Suanne: It it my pleasure to share, I am reliving the moment as I went through the pictures and write the posts up.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I am enjoying these posts very much. The little girl is very sweet.

    ReplyDelete