China: Visiting the Terracotta Army and the Battle it Took to Get There – Part II (Xi’an)

It’s been over three years and I can still remember our visit to Xi’an as if it were yesterday. I don’t recall what the hotel room looked like, or where we even stayed. I do remember our visit to the Terracotta Army and the adventure that took place to get there.

It all started the morning after we arrived in Xi’an. We got up early, ate breakfast, found us a driver, and took off to what we thought would be an easy excursion to see some awesome historical artifacts. If only future me could warn past me of what was to unfold. So off we went with the driver for what we thought was a straight forward destination. 10 minutes after we took off, the driver pulls over and gets out of the car. We were unsure what was going on, but since we were still in the middle of the city we knew we couldn’t be at our destination yet. We were at our stop for what seemed like an eternity, but was probably closer to 10 minutes. Our driver gets back in the car and off we go again. To this day I have no idea why we stopped. Apparently he had some errands to run or maybe he was asking for directions. After clarifying that there would be no more stops during our ride, we were off again. A little bit more than half way to our destination our cab starts to make weird noises. Not a possible flat tire kind of noise, but the kind where you think the car might turn into a flaming fireball of death. Here we go pulling over for stop number two and wondering if we are ever going to make it and if death is in the cards for us during our trip. After a thorough inspection the driver adds some sort of coolant to the car (which might have been what he stopped for during stop number one) and eventually we are off again. At one point he asks us if we want to stop to visit a store, and we all firmly said no.

Finally! We are in an empty parking lot, but he says we are at our destination and to walk “that way”. After trying to communicate that he would wait for us until we were done, we took off in the direction of that way. After a very long walk, asking for directions, and trying to find the ticket booth multiple times, we finally made it to…at this point I think we forgot where we were. The lines to get into this place made me think we were in queue to get on the only spaceship to escape total planet annihilation.

We started to make our way to Pit One, which contains the main army, when we all stopped to come up with a meeting place. There were so many people that we knew we would eventually lose one another, and what do you know, we all lost each other. Ashley and I stuck together for the most part and soon upon entering Pit One we realized it was going to be a full blown war to get any photographs. So there we are, standing behind a man, waiting for our turn to see the warriors and snap a photo or two. The man starts to make room for us as he is trying to exit the swarm of people trying to push their way to the front. We are now at the front and we are in awe of what we see, we take it in grab our cameras and try to snap as many photos as we can. I’m starting to get pushed from behind, and Ashley gives up and I watch her 5’8″ self elbow people out of the way so she can get out of the mayhem. I on the other hand try to battle it out for a bit longer since I keep getting pushed and I know my photos are turning out blurry. Eventually I get pushed so hard, I turn around to see who the hell is about the get the wrath that is my pissed off raised eyebrow glare. I see that it is a lady who is actually pushing her large son into me hoping I will move. I figured my glare would make her pause. I turn back around snap my last photo and I get pushed as I am about to make my mind up and go. It was hot as hell, I was claustrophobic, and extremely irritable, which happens to be an awful combination when you are getting pushed. So what did I do…I pushed back. Oh, did I push back. Not an arm shove, or a slight nudge, but a full on face forward two handed push. To this day I remember seeing Ashely’s face of shock and the laugher that came out of her from watching my reaction. PRICELESS. The lady and son duo that I pushed were unfazed and took my spot immediately after my departure That is when I learned they roll a little bit different in China. Personal space? Leave that shit at home.

After that the rest of our visit was easy, we accepted that our personal space was most likely going to be assaulted, but to just roll with it. As a reward for surviving the Terracotta Army I ate the spiciest soup ever in the hottest weather ever…and what do you know? Our driver waited for us.

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The Muslim Quarter in Xi’an was one of my favorite parts of our trip. We just wandered the streets and enjoyed some good ol’ people watching.

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One thought on “China: Visiting the Terracotta Army and the Battle it Took to Get There – Part II (Xi’an)

  1. Ahhh…China…where we visited ancient historical sites, walked along the Great Wall of China, cruised by bamboo boat down the Yangshuo river…and where we elbowed and pushed the locals…well, not all of them.

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