Time for some more culture, today we were off to see the Terracotta Army. As usual we decided to forgo the easy option and make our own way, and as usual we played the obligatory hide the official bus game. Eventually we found it and 80p and one hour later we were there. It was one of the hottest days ever, and I think my enjoyment of the day had as much to with the fact that the whole place was inside and air conditioned as it did with seeing the ancient treasures on display. Luckily we had read that it was best to do it backwards. The reason for this is that the first pit is by far the best so after that pit 2 and 3 are really just giant holes, doing it backwards meant that you really got the wow factor when you saw the biggest most impressive pit full of life sized Terracotta soldiers.The museum was very interesting ( and coincidently the coolest place). There were lots of theories about why all the different Terracotta treasures were made, but it seemed pretty obvious to me. Basically the first emperor of China who died 200 years before Jesus was supposedly born had them all built. He got loads of his people (slaves) to recreate everything he had at the time in terracotta then berried it in his tomb in the belief that he would have them in the afterlife. There was everything from chariots to acrobats, I half expected to see a terracotta milk man. I didn't find one, so I imagine his up there in heaven kicking himself and really craving some cornflakes right now. There were over 9,000 pieces found so far and you could see the archeologists at work, well actually they were just generally standing around or eating or playing cards,every time I saw them, it's no wonder its taken hundreds of years to dig these things out.
In the evening we decided to go to snack street, a street lined with authentic places to eat. We chose the one full of Chinese people assuming it must be the best. We were given some tea ( horrible tasting water) and a menu but we couldn't understand what anything was. The waitress wasn't in the mood, she pointed at one thing and said beef then another and said chicken so we just said yes. When it arrived it was all cold - out of a fridge cold. It was edible and at the price we paid it would be the only food I would get, so with my new found adventurous taste buds I tucked in. After our meal we wondered the neon sign lined streets. The place was really alive, there were hundreds of people everywhere just going about there business, sat on curbs eating, doing there food shopping. There were stalls lining the road where you could chuck balls into pots to win a teddy bear, and there were stalls full of real tat that no one would ever want, like the worse boot fair ever, but you paid to throw hoops over the tat and try to win it, the Chinese were lapping it up, I think I am going to try this with all the old crap Steve has in our loft, ill have to use those giant hoola hoops the kids use though to make sure people win it. One stall was full of birds in cages that you had to try and get with hoops, I was going to have a go and then free the bird, but i figured it would probably just fly into a wall or get run over, so thought the bird had a better chance on the stall trying to dodge the hoops. We got an ice cream from Mcd's then sat outside and listened to a band playing in the street. I really like Xian, it's small enough to get around on foot, it's very pretty and well preserved, you could breathe the air without coughing and there's a much more laid back atmosphere.