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China, day 9
May 29, 2002

This is our hotel in Xi'an, the Shangri-La Golden Flower Hotel.

Street view on our way to the Terracotta soldiers

A large number of terracotta soldiers have been found under ground.
A roof is protecting the excavation area from sun and rain.

The soldiers were believed to protect the emperor's grave (i.e. himself in his after-life) from the other 6 provinces - therefore facing east.

Our guide in Xi'an, Nancy.

Borrowing John's binoculars to get a good close-up

Overlooking the large pit #1 (movie file)

All soldiers were holding a weapon, but the wooden handles have rotten, so their hands are now empty and the weapons were found on the ground below.

There was a farmer uproar a few hundred years ago, where some terracotta underground "rooms" were burned. The roof gave in and paint came off the solders.
Also, some heads fell off since they are actually loosely mounted on top of the body.

Of course, terracotta soldier replicas can be bought and prices include shipping all over the world. Probably not cheap, since they're quite heavy...

Further guiding before entering terracotta pit #2.

In pit #2, two carriages were found. One up front serving as protective escort, and one right behind.

They're made out of bronze, which has gone quite spotty over the years.

Terracotta soldiers are world inheritage...

The Quing (spelling?) mountains, separating Northern China from Southern China, is also dividing the country in two climate zones.

It is obvious how the wooden roofs have caved in from the fire created at the farmer uproar. Not all parts were burnt through, some are still intact.

In pit #3, all soldiers were facing other directions. The guarding of the emperor's grave is done by the soldiers in the other two pits, while these ones, being closest to the emperor's grave, are rather serving the emperor.

At the onsite lunch, we were served fresh, local noodles. Very delicious.

First, the noddle "dough" is worked a fair bit to make it elastic enough... (movie file)

Then, by adding flour, the dough can be folded a number of times to create 2, 4, 8...many layers of one long noodle! (movie file)

When the noodles are thin enough, they're ready for boiling. (movie file)


Another view of the Quing (?) mountin ridge. These mountins are the origin of Kiwi, where they still grow wild. Man brought them to New Zeeland, now the #1 source of Kiwi fruits.

At the terracotta replica factory outlet, Diona found a real hunk.


...and Hannes.

The replicas are pretty good.

Gluing legs onto terracotta horses

The oven where they are burned to perfection

Xi'an is surrounded by coal power plants. That's probably the reason their sky is always hazy...

Not many obey the street lights...

Chinese Chess

In the afternoon, we headed downtown and found a market, where the locals seem to do their shopping. No souvenirs in sight.

Bicycles seem essential in China.

Part of a Chinese computer keyboard...

Good ol' Arnold selling DVD players...!

A glimpse of the street traffic

Another glimpse of the street life (movie file)

Then off to the Xi'an Musical Conservatory for rehearsal and evening concert.
We found this sign mounted right above us on stage.

Concert preparations...

Doug rigging his recording equipment, as for every concert

Polishing that tenor part

Polishing that soprano part

Concert! Mark presenting us and our music - in Chinese, as always an amusement to the audience :-)

All of UCAC...

...and P5.
After the concert we all mingled with the audience - we are after all ambassadors of friendship!

Looks like we have got a new soldier.

Proceed to Day 10

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