We spent a weekend in Xi'an the Terra-cotta Army was awesome. Xi'an, not so much.

Shaanxi Museum of History

Temple of the 8 Immortals

The Great Mosque of Xi'an

The Terra-cotta Army

We got to our train really early so as not to miss it. As a result we got pretty hungry and KFC was the only option that didn't require speaking Chinese.

This is the bay of the station. There really are a bunch of trains here.

This is inside our cabin. When we bought our tickets the only options were the cheapest (standing room) or the most expensive (private cabin). As you can see by Alice's expression, this is just about worth the price difference (the toilet was NOT a hole). It was also an 10 hour, overnight train ride.

This is a copy of the complementary newspaper.

This and the following are night views of Beijing.

This is what we found when we woke up in the morning.

Breakfast was provided by the pastry shop we found a few days before.

More countryside on the way to Xi'an

This is our hotel room in Xi'an. Its about 3 times the size of the one in Beijing.


Safety First.

We didn't try the tea.

This is the View of Xi'an from our window. That's smog again, not clouds.

We found Wal-Mart on our tourist map and since it was in the center of town anyway, we had to go.

Inside it was a little different than the ones back home.

Maybe this is the flagship store for when Wal-Mart starts marketing to the upper class.

One of the main streets in Xi'an, the Bell tower is in the intersection of the two main thoroughfares of Xi'an and surrounded by this massive roundabout.

This is the bell that the tourists can pay to ring. Its loud.

Another direction off the bell tower. The Drum Tower can be seen on the top right. We didn't go since it we went to one in Beijing.

The Drum Tower and public square.

Jackie Chan is big in China. So is Yao Ming. They combine their celebrity powers on bill boards all around the country to sell Visa cards. Yao Ming is also the reason every other boy aged 10 - 16 wears Houston Rockets jerseys.

Love is in the air.

Shaanxi Museum of History

We went to the Shaanxi Museum of History which had a lot of really cool stuff. The presentation was slightly lacking though.

The Qin Dynasty

These are actually building supports to hold large beams together.

The Wild Goose Pagoda.

Temple of the 8 Immortals

Ba Xian An Monastery (Temple of the Eight Immortals), as its name indicates, is mainly dedicated to the legendary Eight Immortals Han Zhongli, Zhang Guolao, Han Xiangzi, Tieguai Li, Cao Guojiu, Lv Dongbin, Lan Caihe and He Xiangu. Located on Changle Fang Street in the eastern suburb. It is the biggest Taoist temple in Xian and is a famous site of Taoist architecture in northwest China.

Each Immortal's power can be transferred to a tool of power that can give life or destroy evil. Together, these eight tools are called "Covert Eight Immortals". Not only are they revered by the Daoists, but they are a popular element in the secular Chinese culture

If you could throw a coin in the the hole in the metal disk and his the bell you would win a big stuffed bear! Well... ok... so you would have a wish granted but I guess that's pretty good too..


Some of the Immortals

I can't read this either.

Inside you can buy incense to light and place in front of the Temple.

This is an Islamic market we found beneath the Drum Tower on our way to the Great Mosque.

The Great Mosque of Xi'an

The Great Mosque of Xi'an is one of the oldest and most renowned mosques in the country.

It was first built in the Tang Dynasty (reign of Emperor Xuanzong, 685-762) at the eastern end of the Silk Road, and renovated in later periods (especially during the reign of Emperor Hongwu of the Ming Dynasty). It remains a popular tourist site of Xi'an, and is still used by Chinese Muslims (mainly the Hui people) today as a place of worship. Unlike most mosques in Middle Eastern or Arab countries, the Great Mosque of Xi'an is completely Chinese in its construction and architectural style, except for some Arabic lettering and decorations, for the mosque has neither domes nor traditional-style minarets.

The minaret of the Great Mosque.

I found this sign in sort of a back corner of a room. I think the stone that goes with it is the one below. I don't think I would want my future decided by this task.


This is the Prayer Hall.

This is the inside. The prayer hall is large enough to fit over 1000 people.

This was not at the Mosque. This is lunch.

These are pictures from where we had lunch.

The drum tower.

We found another bakery in Xi'an it was called the Holi-land. This cake and the following go for about 140 yuan which a little below 20 bucks.

This is the menu in our hotel. The third listing from the bottom is the best.

The Terra-cotta Army

We got a tour to the Terra-cotta Warriors through a hostel in Xi'an. The first stop was at Lintong history museum where they have unearthed a persevered 6000 year old village.

This is one of the huts.

This is a wider view of the village.

The next stop was at the terra-cotta factory where they made reproductions of the warriors.


These are the five ranks of soldiers that were found.

This guy was there as well.

A group of completed life-size statures. You can have your own for only about 6000 dollars (shipping and insurance included). They told us that you could put it in your garden if you wanted.

Hand weaving rugs.

This is an overview of the burial site of Emperor Qin. It was build around 209 BC. The symmetrical mound on the right side of the picture is the actual tomb of Emperor Qin. We were told is has not been explored because the technology does not exist to protect the artifacts inside from damage from exposure to the air and from traps left by the builders. The buildings on the top middle are the pits where the soldiers were found. It is thought to have take 700,000 workers and craftsmen 38 years to complete the entire complex.

This is Pit 1. The soldiers were originally discovered by a group of farmers digging a well. When the soldiers were originally excavated they were painted but the color faded after about 3 days. For a scale in this picture there are people on the very right and very left of the hanger.

The bodies of the soldiers were produced in a production line from a number of similar molds. However, the heads were individually carved, each resembling an actual person in the Emperors army. This way, the real person wouldn't have to be buried with the emperor to protect him in the afterlife.

The Weapons in Pit 1 - All the terra-cotta warriors in the pit held bronze weapons. They included crossbows, arrow, arrow heads, spears, dagger-axes, swords, curved swords, etc.

This is pit 3. It is a combination of a meeting center and stables.

The farmers who found the soldiers were refused a reward for their discovery by the government and in their anger, destroyed or removed most of the heads of this section.

These warriors on display are in pit 2. Pit 2 was excavated down to the wooden supports that protect the soldiers so looking at it is like looking at a really big pit of dirt. It is about a third of the size of pit 1.

The carts and harnesses of the horses were all made of wood and so they rotted off. This statue was found and is entirely made of bronze. It is used as a template for reconstruction .

Then we left.

And were greeted by about 1 mile of touristy crap.

This is in the Airport. Its a positive way to think of garbage I suppose.

Perhaps you wouldn't notice what is wrong with this clock if you lived in China. However, we are from the west coast of the US.

Onward to Urumqi