We jumped in a cab and arrived at the Beijing airport at 6:00 a.m. to catch a flight to Xi'an. With some time to kill and grumbly stomachs, we made our way to a noodle shop that was completely packed with people looking for breakfast (turns out noodles are a common Chinese breakfast food).
I ordered spicy pork noodles. They were unbelievably delicious and although this is something I would usually consider a lunch or dinner food, they surprisingly hit the spot.
Josh ordered veggie noodles. Also very delicious.
Our flight took off at 7:15 a.m., and we arrived in Xi'an a little after 9:00 a.m. We were met by a driver to take us to the Terracotta Warriors. The Terracotta Warriors are about 8,000 warriors made out of clay that guard the tomb of Qi Shi Huang, the self-titled "First Emperor of China." Before Qi Shi Huang, China was a bunch of city-states. He came along and unified the city-states in 221 B.C. This guy was quite a character to say the least. Among his list of accomplishments, he commissioned what would become the beginnings of the Great Wall of China, commissioned the Terracotta Warriors, and unified China. The bad news? He killed hundreds of thousands of the laborers who built both the Great Wall and the Warriors.
The Terracotta Warriors were only "recently" discovered in 1974 by a local farmer who discovered pieces of one of the soldiers while at his well. This farmer now hangs out in the gift shop signing programs. Josh and I saw him, but they won't let you take pictures with him. Apparently, some of the elderly Chinese are superstitious when it comes to cameras -- they believe they bring bad luck. (I hate having my picture taken, so I am considering adopting this philosophy.)
Josh outside the museum that houses "Pit 1" of the Terracotta Warriors.
One row of the warriors. Sorry it's so blurry. The lighting was low and no flash photography allowed. I wanted to get down there and take pictures with the soldiers, but unfortunately, it's all roped off.
More of the army. One very cool thing that you cannot tell from my blurry photos: each soldier is different from the others. They have unique clothing, hair styles, and facial expressions. Also, you can tell the rank of the soldier by his hairstyle and how pointy his shoes are! (The pointier, the more powerful, of course!)
The building that houses the soldiers is HUGE!
After finishing at the museum, we headed back to our car and our driver took us back into the city of Xi'an which is a little over an hour away. The combinations of the air conditioned car, the vibrations of the road, and the lightning speed at which we have been traveling started to make Josh and I realize how tired we were. We both started to drift in and out of sleep.
That is, until we arrived at our next destination: the Wild Goose Pagoda. The Wild Goose Pagoda is a Buddhist pagoda dating back to the Seventh Century.
Outside the gate was this little boy who appeared to love the lions as much as I do!
Here is the pagoda. Isn't it magnificent?
We walked all around the pagoda. Again, no pictures of the Buddha allowed, but it was spectacular and golden, of course.
More pictures of the gorgeous pagoda.
As we were walking out of the pagoda, it started to rain. By the time we got to our hotel, it was pouring. Honestly, it's probably a good thing as I want to go out and explore, but we should probably go to bed early tonight. There hasn't been much sleep on this trip (we can sleep at home -- too many other, better things to do in China!), and I feel myself starting to get snappy. I had to hold in some rage when the woman at the front desk of the Sheraton Xi'an started to make things difficult. However, it turns out that it is hard to get mad at a woman named Smile Li.
Back in our hotel in the early evening, we realized we were starving. Did you notice that there weren't any pictures of lunch? Yeah, that's because we were so busy darting around, we didn't have any!
So, in a grumpy and hungry haze, we stumbled down to the lobby, borrowed a couple of umbrellas, and walked to a dumpling restaurant close by. (Xi'an is apparently famous for its dumplings.)
The server recommended this noodly spinachy concoction soaked in chili oil. It was one of the most delicious things I've eaten here so far!
We also ordered pork dumplings (for me) and vegetarian dumplings (for Josh).
We asked for napkins, and they brought us these cute little packets with scented napkins (smelling kind of like old lady perfume).
After dinner, we hit up a small convenience store so Josh could buy some candy. Now, we are back in our room. Although it's pretty early, I think it may be time to take advantage of the bad weather and get a good night's sleep! We have to be up early tomorrow to catch a flight to Shanghai.
Before signing off, though, two quick non-China-related items. First, I have been reading a bit of news on my Blackberry and came across this article. Although I love politics, I usually stray away from discussing political topics on this blog as it's not really the proper forum, in my opinion. However, suffice to say that if we go to war with Iran, I am moving. Italy sounds nice. Even Canada.
Second, today is my Grandma's birthday! Happy Birthday, Grandma!
Okay, time for bed. Next time you hear from me, we will (hopefully) be in Shanghai!