The terracotta warriors have the expected evidence in Xi'an’s Provincial museum, but they are simple details that will not replace the visit of the excavations site.
For those who had been there, the display doesn’t add much.
People talk about air index figures here but ive never really noticed any air quality, or lack of it, that has noticeably been an issue - until one night when we were arriving off the bus near our gate from friends and the area was full of acrid, foul smelling smoke.
The next morning I woke feeling a little like ive been breathing in smoke all night and the horizon view from my window was much more smoggy than usual.
Generally the skies are covered with grey coloured cloud which is hard to differentiate between rain clouds or smog - but then we get up in the morning and its clear blue skies that last for 3 or 4 days. This has happened 3 or 4 times in the 6 weeks ive been here so far.
During the first 3 days of the National day holidays here the skies were clear - and for the first time even clear at night!
Yesterday was very smokey even down at street level and then walking home it was for the first time actually uncomfortably awful with thick, foul smelling smoke for about 10 minutes of our walk up the main road.
the index this morning at 9am online said it was 172. The horizon has been very smokey all day but we have had sunshine which means it is not very thick above us.
Normal functioning lungs do a good job at filtering so this is all manageable - we have been here 6 weeks without any real noticeable effects and ex-pats we know who have been here 2-6 years have not mentioned it as an issue for those without underlying physical problems.
We have had an elderly group of ladies here with us with no adverse reasctions or even notice of any air issues. For those with asthma or bronchitis or any issues that lessen your immunity I would say think carefully about where you go in China, especially in the winter when the risk of respiratory viruses and illnesses are higher.
There is not a large collection in this museum, but the wide space, under dimmed light, is very well planned and presented. So, you must be aware that the real collection is displayed in the many pits that surround the emperor's tomb.
Getting back to light, you’ll meet… a shop, of course.
When the terracotta figures are dug, they show almost the original colors, but, in contact with the air, the colors rapidly fade and disappear. That's why they stopped digging, even returning some figures back to the earth.
In the universities they are studying the best way to preserve the colors and only after that the work to unearth an reconstruct the figures will proceed.
Meanwhile, there are hundreds to see, but... almost colourless!
Most visitors are afraid of Chinese food, for the risk of being presented with insects, lizards, snakes, or... who knows!
In the touristy circuits they are aware of that, and we saw nothing strange around our tables, having to walk in the popular streets to watch those odd feeding tastes.
Each meal is composed by several dishes, mainly with vegetables, and the meat is selected following the western uses. But a small funny surprise is always possible:
One day, in Xi'an, eating a chicken dish in a nice restaurant, I saw a piece with an uncommon shape.
I took it to my plate and... it was the chicken peck. No "poison", but... how do they eat that?
I was unclear as to what adaptor to take from Australia, so I took two. The one with 2 round prongs and one with 2 flat prongs. All Hotels we stayed at took the one with 2 round prongs, but not the other one. Also, at our last Hotel in Shanghai, The Metropole, it also had a power point in the room that you could plug Australian plugs straight into, without an adaptor.
So, just do your research, cover all possibilities and you will be ok. Someone here on vt will tell you exactly which adaptor to take to any country in the world!
I was quite devastated the first time I got on a pc in China to learn that they have banned Facebook!!! I dont really know why, but a quick warning - that if you are hoping to keep in contact with friends and family via Facebook while holidaying in China - IT AINT HAPPENING!!!
Our worst taxi ride by far was on our way to Guilin airport bound for Shanghai. Tracy was sitting in the front seat, which is not such an intelligent thing to do when you see how crazily they drive! All of a sudden the taxi driver just stops by the side of the road. He gets out and walks over to a big pot of soup, gives it a few stirs then comes back to the car. He then mutters something in Chinese to us and off he goes again. This time he is gone for a good 5 minutes. I told Tracy to beep his horn and she did! Hey, they beep their horns enough, so I figured it was ok for us to beep it! He comes back with a bag of eggs, we presumed this was morning tea! And then, we are on the road again, bound hopefully for the airport.
You see, that is the big disadvantage we have in China when not speaking or reading their language. We get into a taxi, usually with our destination written in Chinese. The driver nods his head and we just presume that he is taking us to our intended destination, when really, he could be taking us absolutely anywhere! When we were in a taxi, bound for somewhere, and we finally saw a road sign in english saying our destination was ahead, we were always like "phew - at least he is going to the right place!"
Taxi drivers never wear seat belts, nor are there seat belts in the back seats. They will always answer their mobile phones at least 10 times during a short trip. They NEVER obey road rules, actually, come to think of it, Im not entirely sure there are any road rules in China! They usually dont speak a word of english and thee taxis are usually pretty filthy dirty. Oh, one taxi driver in Shanghai spoke some english, he just kept repeating "I am a communist - long live Chairman Mao!!!" I was not about to tell him Chairman Mao was dead and the body at his Mausoleum in Beijing is just a wax statue!!! No way, I was not gonna tell him that!
ALWAYS ask your Hotel staff to give you a Hotel card with your destination written in Chinese, and always ask them for a rough idea on the cost to get where you are going, and roughly how long it will take.
DO NOT USE THE (SUPPOSED) HAIRDRYERS AT THE CANAAN HOTEL!!!!!
Upon looking at the hairdryer, it looked like a normal hairdryer. But ... looks can be deceiving, this one is a heat seeking killer machine!!!
It is basically a heat-gun, it does not blow air, but send out high (very high) heat. The first time I used it, Im like "whats that burning smell??" Well ... that smell was my hair, almost catching alight!!! It was singed and burnt and I was NOT VERY HAPPY! Tracy used it just after me, trying to be very careful with it, but it literally melted her hair brush!
We complained to Reception, they then sent up another hairdryer, which was exactly the same - go figure!
So ... Please DO NOT use the hairdryers at the Canaan Hotel. In fact, please DO NOT even stay at the Canaan Hotel, if you value your life!
Even at Hotels, they were stingy in providing toilet paper, mostly only giving us half a roll per day! And most if not all toilets provided toilet paper, so you MUST bring your own, or even better are the small tissue packs, fitting easily into handbags or bumbags.
Also something we found difficult to source was Lipton Black Tea, it took us 4 days to finally track some down! None of the Hotels we stayed at provided it free in the room, so it took us days of searching in Beijing to finally find some to buy. We bought 3 packets and kept it in our room safe, along with our toilet paper, passports and cash!!!
The other thing we found impossible to find at the shops was the liquid hand wash you use, like Dettol or other brands. I did bring 2 small bottles from home, but ran out and couldnt find it anywhere, luckily I also brought some anti-bacterial wipes from home also. So, make sure you take a huge stash of handwash stuff.
Oh, and another thing we found hard to come by (and had to steal them from shops!) was sugar for our cups of tea. We usually went to Starbucks or King Coffee (the chinese equivalent of Starbucks but cheaper) and had a cup of tea or coffee and then stole about 10 sachets of sugar each! Also, something not given in our rooms was teaspoons to stir our cuppas, so had to steal these also, from Starbucks or KFC! So, if you like a cup of tea or coffee in your Hotel room, it might be wise to bring your own sugar, teabags, coffee and teaspoons. The milk we just bought on the street, guessing it was low fat milk and getting it right every time!
THIS ONE IS FOR US GALS - If you are going to have your periods while in China and you use tampons, you MUST bring enough with you as we never once saw them for sale, only pads.
If the traffic light goes red, you stop right? WRONG! In Xi'an, RED LIGHT = GREEN LIGHT = GO!!!. If there are pedestrians crossing, GO FASTER!!! If pedestrians are children or women, DAMN IT THIS CAN'T GET ANY BETTER!!!!!!
Pedestrians don't care much about cars, drivers look for a gap between pedestrians to pass (no speed reduction); if there are children involved, things don't get any better. Watch out when crossing the streets.
Aquí no hay ningún peligro , pero es una recomendación para que disfrutes más la visita a los Guerreros . Están en tres pabellones , numerados del 1 al 3 y es el orden de visita que quieren que hagas , pero creo que es mejor hacer la visita con el siguiente orden :
Primero ver la película y después ver los pabellones 3 , 2 y 1 pues así vas "in crescendo" dejando lo más impresionante para el final
Here there is no danger, but it is a recommendation to enjoy more your visit to the Warriors. They are in three pavilions, numbered from 1 to 3 and is the normal order to make the visit , but I think it is much better to make the visit in the following order:
First watch the movie and then see pavilions 3, 2 and 1 , on this way you go "in crescendo" , leaving the most impressive section to the end
When I arrived to Xi'an I thought it was foggy but then I realised it was actually smog! It was also very, very hot. If you're going during the summer as I did, I adivise you to wear cool clothing and drink a lot of water.
We were walking around the Muslim Quarters and came upon a small eatery where two girls were hovering over a big pot. I asked her what was available, to which she answered 'beef dumplings' . Forgetting where I was, I asked if she had pork dumplings - to which she made a quick retort. According to my sister, the girl had said something like "in your next life". Oops! I'd better work on my karma then.
Moral of the story: Don't go ordering pork in the Muslim Quarters!
We as well as our children noticed people tried to rob our wallets from our pockets on the stairs to and from the underground tunnels at the Bell Tower. When we looked at them they acted innocent and quickly dissapeared.
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