We tried to leave the China air but could not deal with the ticket change due to the time difference until midday and had to make an early morning call. The Air Quality Index (AQI) dropped from 1346 to 476 overnight- from hazardous to unhealthy. We cancelled all outdoor activities but suited up with masks and hats to do the terra-cotta warriors. Our research showed it is mostly inside with just quick walks between buildings so felt we should go for it.
The warrior's complex was more outside than I was anticipating- you have to take a long golf cart ride to get to the sites- so we are feeling pretty poisoned right now with eyes messed up, throats burn and sinuses not right. Stupid call I guess. Just didn't want to come all this way and not see them. Ugh. Can't express how much it sucks to not be able to get clean air. It is the most basic need- especially one you want to give your children. When you cannot it hurts- but those are not my words....more later.
Our poisoned state aside, Xi'an is a city of wheat, not rice. It's noodle dumpling city. People are noticeably different here- much more personable and hip than in Beijing. It is around the size and feel of a Chinese Boston. The terra-cotta warriors may have put Xi'an on the tourist map but it was long on the Chinese map- it was the Capital, start of the Silk Road and location of the first Chinese Dynasty.
The Warrior's is not a finished museum exhibit but rather an ongoing archeological excavation, which makes you feel like you are witnessing the cracking chrysalis of something that will be really amazing one day. Funny, but that is how I can still describe China- but I will save that for another post. I clearly remember, and so does my husband, learning about the terra cotta warriors in school as a child. I was taught they were created to trick enemies into thinking there were more soldiers in the army than there actually were. This is not true. The warriors are part of a tomb complex to guard China's first emperor Qin Shi Huang Di in his after life. Emperor Qin was not only the brainchild of these funerary guards, but also the individual who commissioned construction of the Great Wall of China. Old EQ got a lot done, but he was not liked so much. He got some peasant payback, but that is another story.
The warriors were found by chance in 1974- almost 1800 years after they were placed. Four peasants were digging a well (this is not the opening of a joke nor the start of a Saint siting story). The peasants pulled up a terracotta limb in their wooden well basket and the rest is history. Two of those peasants are still alive and work at the museum part-time. There just might have been some divinity with the 4 peasants that day because the land had been dug into many times prior to the discovery. It was farmland and a cemetery. The location of the burial sites that were moved after the discovery can still be seen amongst the warriors figures- they are rectangular cuts into the compacted earth. Some of these are just inches away from the figures- discovery came close numerous times. The farmers could never figure out why they could not get good growth on the site. Just think, 8000 clay warriors were just meters away looking up at them.
From Xi'An at 34.2683° N, 108.9419° E.