Day 5 – Terra-cotta and Dumplings

All of the gigs are done. Now it’s time for just sightseeing.

6:30 pm CST – 7:30 am local
Wake up calls

Every morning, Music Celebrations International makes sure every room gets a wake up call. From what I understand, it is just a call they don’t understand. I say “they” because I have never been in the room for one. I am usually up and about for at least an hour beforehand.

Anyway, it is nice not to have to do that ourselves.

Luggage had to be down and ready to go to the train (packed, locked, etc.) back to Beijing by 8 am with a 9 am departure by bus. Breakfast also had to be eaten by then at the hotel’s buffet.

8:30 pm CST 3/16/2011 – 9:30 am local 3/17/20
Terra-cotta Warriors & Horses Museum

Before we actually get to go see where the Terra-cotta soldiers were buried, we get to see how they make the replicas, both large and small. After seeing this, we have a chance to…wait for it…

…relieve us of our oh-so-heavy money.

11pm 3/16/2011 CST – 12 pm 3/17/2901 local
Lunch

A local place. I may be able to get a name off of a picture that I took. Again, better than the last with a couple of new dishes.

I will take a moment to note the use of chopsticks.

I can’t.

I have attempted to no avail. Others can. They make me mad with their air of superiority and little looks and smirks as others and myself make use of the forks provided. I wish I had a knife to whittle the and of one so I could simply stab the food and go all caveman on it…or use it on one of their hands when they smirk at me one…more…time.

Uh-oh. After that last comment I think I need a nap.

12:30 am CST – 1:30 pm local
Terra-cotta Warriors & Horses Museum

This is something I have been excited about ever since finding out we were headed to China. We get to see the real ones now.
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These things are amazing. Simply the amount of work that went into making them over years and years is awe inspiring. I will post some pics here when I get home.

It is also a beautiful day today. Sunny and in the 60′s. Most aren’t wearing coats. I think Chris Jones may have taken a nap on a bench.

3:30 am CST – 4:30 pm local
Dumpling Feast

As we got to the restaurant I am reminded just how good our bus drivers are. They seem to fit into any space to park or to drive through. I bet I could put a dime on the ground and they could make the bus do tricks all while keeping one tire on the dime.

I keep asking, but they won’t let me drive. I also think that if the bus drivers had an uprising and started taking out pedestrians, China would no longer need the “one child policy”. Actually, if they did, I would be fearful. There are A LOT of buses here.

Anyway. The Dumpling Feast.

Delicious.

That’s all. I’m done.

Actually, no I’m not. It never seemed to end. Spicy pork, chicken & mushroom, pork & mushroom, and many other varieties and combinations kept being brought out in a veritable never-ending, gluttonous orgy of small delectable pieces that even I could properly pick up with chopsticks, culminating in a state of blissful fullness only tempered by the knowledge of having to endure another train ride this evening.

At the end of the meal we were given soup and a story about the Dragon Lady and baby dumplings. I won’t relate the whole story (ask your kids and see if they were paying attention), but 9 baby dumplings were placed in the roiling soup before being ladled into our bowls. If we received any number of dumplings other than 4, it meant some sort of good luck. While we have an unlucky number of 13, theirs is 4.

All told, a very enjoyable meal.

6:30 am CST – 7:30 pm local
Xi’an Railway Station

Another train ride. Once asleep, these aren’t bad since we have sleeper compartments. Until the sweet blissfulness of unconsciousness, though, they can be hot and cramped.

They were an interesting experience for a first time train ride for many of us. Not necessarily horrible, but definitely interesting.

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