In the year 210B.C, around 7,500 clay figures were buried for the purpose of protecting the Qin emperor, the first declared emperor of China. In fact the very name of “China” is derived form that of the Qin. He was also the first emperor to try to unite China through a series of battles. He believed that this terracotta army of warriors would protect him after he died. Emperor Qin eventually died at the young age of 50 but spent most of his life preparing for a majestic burial and “second life.” Meanwhile he ordered his workers to discover an elixir of life, and so he spent a great amount of resources in an unsuccessful attempt to discover it.
When he died, thousands of officials and craftsmen were buried alive with him in order to keep this tomb a secret. The construction of this massive tomb created precedent for the emperors to follow. Two thousand years later, some farmers were digging a well and ended up making the biggest archaeological discovery of the 20th century. One of the farmers was actually at the museum signing autographs, so it was kind of neat to see him in person.
Afterward we went straight to lunch and then did some shopping. I am getting better at bargaining, but I am not nearly as good as Daniel. He doesn’t only cut the stated price in half but starts off at 10 percent of that price. The crazy thing is half the time it actually works. I am glad we have some good bargainers on this trip because it keeps me from getting taken. I give in too quickly, but I am learning to just walk away and that always seems to work. After that bargaining episode we went to a Buddhist Temple and walked around. It was an incredibly hot day today, ranging in the temperature of 110 degrees.
On our way back to the hotel we stopped to climb the Xi’an wall, which surrounds the city. Built to protect the city from foreign invaders, it is a total of nine miles round. Rachael and I wanted to run it but probably would have had a heat stroke if we tried. While the others decided to walk around on the wall, Benjie and I thought it would be cool to rent a two-seater bike. We had 30 minutes so we had to bolt, but we made it on time. Now we can say that we were able to see the whole city in 30 minutes!
We got back just on time and then found out they were not going to give us our deposit because they said we “broke” the bike. We were finally able to convince them that rust doesn’t just appear in 30 minutes so the “damage” was not from us. The language barrier just made it that much more difficult but after about 15 minutes of that little dispute they finally let us go. Note to self: no more renting antique bikes from sketchy vendors.
That night we went to a legendary dumpling restaurant right off the main square. We tried a grand total of 15 different types of dumplings that night! After our dumpling feast we decided to explore some of downtown before heading back to the hotel. Right outside the restaurant there were these adorable little puppies for sale. We all took turns holding them. We then walked around, did some go-cart racing on the sidewalk, shopped for a little while, and then split ways with some of the group. While a few stayed longer, Chris, Ricky, Rachael, and I all had fun riding a little motorized tuck-tucks back to our hotel.
Tomorrow morning we fly to Nanjing to see the museum then drive 4 and a half hrs to Shanghai, where we will be for the next five days. Hopefully we will have Internet access, which has been very difficult for us to get ahold of lately.