X is for Xian (A-Z Blogging Challenge)

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Mixing It Up With Locals and Clay Soldiers

It's "X" Day for the Blogging from A to Z Challenge

As iconic and exotic as Egypt, every child in America learns a little about Chinese history; it was one of those places that I just could not wait to get to.  The Great Wall, the Forbidden City, and the Xian Warriors are probably the top three sights to see, and we were going to do just that on our first trip to the China.

We headed to Xian after four days in Beijing with its throngs of people, bikes, polluted skies, hutongs, and sight after sight to overwhelm the first-timer.  We were more than ready to go somewhere a little less chaotic, a little less crowded.

After a surprise night spent in Shanghai, we landed in this dusty, small city.  The taxi driver had no idea where to go, how to speak English, and we had to drive from big hotel to big hotel until we could figure out where we were supposed to go.  To be honest, we were thinking “What the hell have we got ourselves into?”  This wasn’t a very smooth start, but we finally found our small hotel and from that point on Xian just got better and better and better.

We booked a driver to take us to the Mausoleum of the Qin dynasty and the Terra Cotta Warriors.  We didn’t realize that it was quite a ways from the city of Xian, but we love getting out into the countryside, so we were happy about that.  As a bonus our driver took us to visit his aunt who lived in a cave-house built into the mountain.  His parents were both scientists and they had all been displaced to this area during the Mao period to work the fields.  His aunt had stayed.  She was very welcoming and we enjoyed a cup of tea with her and her neighbors.

It's "X" Day for the Blogging from A to Z Challenge


Have you been to China? Xian?  Have you seen the Terra Cotta Warriors?


  1. I was just thinking about the way world history is taught in America and how, for the most part, Asian countries don’t really get mentioned until WWII and Japan. I’m sure there are some variances and it’s changed since I was in school, but we definitely don’t know as much about Asian culture as we do European when we finish our 12 years of school.
    I didn’t make it to Xian when we went to China. We did get to see other smaller places and meet locals, so I’m thankful for that. I know we’ll go there someday, in the meantime there’s a Xian exhibit at a local museum I might check out.
    It’s really cool that you got to meet a local cave dweller. What happened to the rest of the family? Are they still in China do you know? Chinese reeducation and time under Mao just fascinates me.

  2. Of all the places I’ve been in the world, this is the most stunning. Like Corinne’s photo above, you enter Pit 1 (1 of 4 pits) and look down at the warriors and horses, then, as you take in the whole pit (over 14,000 square meters with thousands of figures), you begin to realize the immensity of this sight/site. It’s jaw-dropping.

  3. I love your story about finding a smaller hotel and a tour guide. It sounds like you really get to see the country that way. Your photo of the clay soldiers is better than the ones I have seen in magazines. It almost makes one feel like they are really there.

  4. I have tried several times to see the terracota warriors but have not had enough time in my travels. I visited Beijing and plan to do Shanghai and Xian on my next outing. Great pics this and I am sure the real thing was spectacular.

  5. You truly amaze me. Thought of you yesterday. Short story long, was talking to someone at work yesterday…not someone I work with, but someone who was there. He had just returned from 2 wks in China and talked about how awful it was. How nothing was clean, how you had no idea what you were eating, and thought you would explode before you got somewhere where you could use a bathroom without gagging from the stench. He talked about kids pooping in the streets, toddlers running around with out diapers on. He talked about the need to wear a gas mask everywhere with scented oils to tolerate the smell and the pollution. He was glad to see The Wall, and glad at the end of a day to visit family who had a western style bathroom; but was super glad to be back in the USA. He painted the picture I’ve always had in my mind, so different then your posts.

    1. Sandy, I’m not sure what to say to all that. I guess everyone can see the positives or the negatives. I saw children defecating, but only a few. And who’s to say that we Americans are doing it the right way? You see, I love the diversity, the things that make us different. I love the food I’m not sure where it came from. Don’t you think our superstores can be a little sterile? I need to experience a little grit. I am addicted to it.

  6. I was so bummed when X came around that I hadn’t been able to visit Xian while I was in China (and I was bummed not to have visited in general, of course!). Every native said it was a must-see but unfortunately it was just too far out of my way. Next time, for sure, especially after reading your post! I have to say that I had many experiences just like yours with a confused taxi driver trying his best to get me where I needed to go…I always ended up there eventually 🙂

    1. Amy, We were all tired, cranky, and getting dustier and dustier, but after that everything got better, and better, and even better. You’ll have to get there next time!

  7. Congratulations on completing the A to Z Challenge! I sure enjoyed reading your posts. I have never seen Terra Cotta Warriors but love the detail your first picture displays. I don’t do well when I’m tired and hungry in a new environment, something I’m working on improving so I can handle situations like the one you described.

    1. Daidri, I know. We all have those moments, but in a way it was perfect, because everything just got better and better. It was great getting to know everyone during the challenge!

  8. That is so cool that you got to visit the driver’s aunt in her cave house. I always wonder what a regular person’s house looks like when I visit a new place. One of our favorite Xian experiences was bicycle riding along the City Wall and of course, the Terracotta Warriors.

    1. Michele, It was great! We had tea. We talked about life and what she does and did during the revolution. We didn’t stay long, but it was fascinating.

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