Terracotta, towers and terrible photos!

Hello hello! Terracotta terracotta!!! Such was the directions given to us on our second day of Xi’an.

But lets head back in time to the day before. Instead of my usual weekend of lesson planning, I spent my last Friday of no lessons travelling to Xi’an to catch up with Charlotte and Annie as well as soaking up some culture.

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After a disastrous taxi journey at stupid o’clock in the morning I got to the airport and flew away from the pollution of Shijiazhuang to land in a place with slightly less pollution!! Then legged it to the other terminal to meet Charlotte to catch the shuttle bus to the city. In thr hostel we found Annie and immediately headed to the Muslim Quarter to find lunch.

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The Muslim quarter was like an actual maze, and at one point im pretty sure we were going to be trapped forever!! Such good food though including meat on large sticks. I loved my stick as you can tell from the photo above! Whilst food hunting we stumbled across the Great Mosque whose history goes back further than I imagined. It was really interesting to see the blend of traditional Chinese architecture with Arabic writing.

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Once we’d fought our way out of the quarter we headed for the drum tower, where the greatest photo in the history of ever was taken. Seriously that night we spent a good half hour just laughing at different things including my dodgy arm and Charlottes facial expression.

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Ill give you a moment to laugh at the ridiculousness of this image!

At the drum tower we also met a really  nice security guard who took great photos for us. Unlike the previous attempt for a group photo which included her thumb quite prominently…

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Beautiful isn’t it! Anyway after the drum tower we headed towards the bell tower. Together they kept time for the ancient city and you get spectacular views from them, when it isn’t smoggy!!

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We decided to get a relatively early night so we could be rested before the terracotta warriors the next day!

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The bus ride to the army was hilarious!  We were shepherded on to a bus which quickly filled with people whilst it was still moving. Then once it was full and set off it stopped a few times to fill up even more. People were sat on little stools in the aisle until finally it dropped us off at a random carpark. Following the driver’s clear instructions of hello hello terracotta terracotta we managed to find the entrance to the complex!

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The terracotta army absolutely lived up to my expectations! It was so much fun and so interesting to see the detail put into their creation. Pit 2 is still under excavation so I got to play ‘spot the horses arse’, something I was unexpectedly good at!!!

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The sky cleared up whilst we were there too so we could see some of the mountains which surround the site.

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After a less eventful journey back, we holed up in starbucks for wifi, before risking a tuktuk ride back to the Muslim quarter to check out a shadow puppet show! The compound it was in was really cool to walk around, and provided a great opportunity for me and Charlotte to take some more photos!

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Clearly we’re great warriors!! The shadow puppet play was an experience..all in mandarin and full of fighting between the puppets. We had a tea ceremony afterwards and I bought some great ginseng tea.

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That evening we had a couple of drinks before heading back to the hostel. We had to be rested before tackling the city wall the next day. Why did we have to be rested? Because Charlotte thought it’d be a great idea to cycle round.  Great idea in theory but I hadn’t been on a bike since I was 6! After a shaky start I managed to cycle forwards without falling!!!

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Words cannot express how impressed I was! Concentrating hard but look at me not falling! I did however,  attract a few Chinese people. .

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Next bike model right here!!

Sadly that was the end of my trip away, and after an experience at the airport where I checked in late and had a delayed flight but understood the gate change in Chinese it was time to leave.

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This blurry photo is why I wasn’t the person getting stared at most for once!  My plane was full of a tour group with some in this traditional outfit which included bells!! Was really easy to hear them coming which considering they were about 4ft was a good thing!

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Thank you Xi’an for a fabulous time!

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