These cities are really big and nothing ever seems to be next to the last thing. But we are able to get in little catnaps on the bus, which is good because there is a lot of walking once we are off the bus.
We are staying in another top quality hotel, though like everyplace here, the plumbing is delicate and you have to put the paper in a little waste basket, not down the toilet, and you can’t drink the water that comes out of the faucet. Breakfast continues to be a wide selection, though there has been no “Thing” since I left the first hotel. What I especially like about this one is the days of the week carpet in the elevator. I had lost track a little, so seeing Monday in big letters on the carpet was helpful.
Yesterday we went to see the Terra Cotta Warriors, a massive complex of excavation. In 1977 a local farmer was digging a well and discovered a head. It was made of clay and very detailed. He had stumbled onto the terra cotta army that Emperor Qin had created to protect his tomb. Qin ordered the building of the Great Wall and clearly liked things on a large scale. They have already discovered thousands of soldiers, horses and chariots and they know there are more to unearth. They are waiting to excavate some areas because originally the soldiers where vividly painted but the paint vanishes when the terra cotta is exposed to the air. They hope eventually there will be technology advances to preserve the paint color.
There was an extremely long walk out of the site, and we passed all these noodle vendors, but sadly we kept going. After a little ride we ended up at a resort restaurant, which was nice, and had what we all like to see, that is, western style toilets, but there was just way too much food. 14 dishes!
After lunch we went to the Small Goose Pagoda, not to be confused with the Large Goose Pagoda of course. It was a Buddhist temple but is now a park. Some of us paid 5 yuan to ring the giant bell, and we also enjoyed looking at the 300 year old trees.
There was a little extra time, so our guide Jacky (a guy) took us for a tea tasting. We are getting pretty savvy about these extra stops. It’s a little like an Amway event. Taste the tea/learn about the jade/feel the pearls/see how they make the terra cotta warriors: Now, won’t you take a look at our gift shop? I think perhaps it is the cost of doing business, especially the government run jade shop. I’ll be interested in learning more when I get home, as my ability to Internet search here is, how shall we say, somewhat limited.
Then, onto the dumpling dinner and Tang Dynasty Music and Dance Show. The tour itinerary had said “not to expect to much from this dinner, it is just a new and different experience” and our group had much discussion about whether this was an error of translation, or if there wasn’t much food, or if it was bad food. Turns out it was average food, but plenty of it. By plenty, I mean, about seven appetizer dishes, soup and 14 (yes 14!) types of dumplings. Some of them came in cute little shapes, but after the giant lunch it was a real challenge. Eventually I began hiding dumplings in my soup bowl. Our table became dumpling drunk and had lots of laughs, because it was all so insane.
The show was very lively, beautiful costumes and really loud music. There were about 10 vignettes and what I saw (of course I dozed off, and you know I must have been tired because the music was LOUD!) was great. I now know a great deal about the Tang Dynasty, and also that they are trying to kill us with food.