So amazing, yet so many people
|Travel From||–||Xian, China|
|Intermediate Location||–||Terracotta Warriors / BMW Dealer|
|Ending Location||–||Xian, China|
|Miles Driven Today||–||12 Miles|
|Total Trip Mileage||–||11774 Miles|
|Countries visited Today||–|
|Countries visited on trip||US, Canada, UK, The Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Italy, Switzerland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Finland, Estonia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China|
Sightseeing – Terracotta Warriors
Today started early, with breakfast at 6:00 AM, in order that we could leave the hotel at 7:00, so that we could travel to the Terracotta Warriors, as early as possible. You see, this is the week of the 70th birthday of China, and the number of people visiting Xi’an is nothing short of remarkable.
There are people everywhere, and on Wednesday night, some of our group visited the Muslim night market, and reported that it was so full of people, it was almost impossible to move. So, if we had any chance of seeing the warriors, we needed to get there ASAP.
We traveled there in a bus that was arranged for us. The trip took 90 minutes on the road, and then once at the site, we spent another 15 minutes getting to the ticket booth. Once at the ticket booth, we met Peter, our Warrior guide. We entered the facility through a very crowded main gate, met at a tree which was just on the other side. We took care of bodily functions, and by now, it was almost 9:00 AM.
8th Wonder of the World
These warriors are very lifelike, with each soldier’s face being unique. The basic mold for the face was established as one of ten different molds. After the warriors face was generally formed, the artisans applied more clay, to make each solder or warrior unique.
There are about 8000 warriors, and another 1500 terracotta statues in the form of chariots, generals, horses, etc.
These warriors were created over a 40 year period, by 700,000 craftsman. In addition, an entire burial plot was created, ensuring that the first emperor would be protected by his army, once he entered the afterlife. This process took place at least 2300 years ago.
The long game
China is known for “playing the long game”, investing in infrastructure projects for cities, long before any people move into these cities. We call that, “Playing the long game”. The exhibit of the warriors generates at least $3M USD each day, which is over $1B USD each year. So, the idea that they built these soldiers, 2300 years ago, in order to generate revenue to this degree is amazing, right?
I’ve captured video of entering and exiting Pit 1. There are 3 pits that contain the soldiers, and while they are near each other, they are separate, and it is Pit 1 which has been heavily excavated, and which draws the biggest crowds.
To give you an idea about the crowd size, I’ve created a video that shows the crowds in the open, and then again as we’re trying to enter and exit the Terracotta Warriors.
The Museum and the chariots
There is also a museum on the grounds, and our guide and minder, Peter took us to the museum first. We walked in to another crush of people. We tried to get close enough to see the chariots, but we were unable to get closer than 5 feet from the glass cases, behind which the chariots were on display.
But, I’m told that Karin did manage to get close, and to get a pretty good shot of the chariots. I’ll try to find time to check with her.
More importantly, note that I used a selfie stick, held high from my 6 5″ frame, and with this combination, I was one of the few that could actually “see the chariots”. The problem is that there are so many people, you don’t really feel like you’ve visited the exhibit, it feels more like a drive-by shooting.
We entered the building that houses Pit 1. There was a crush of people, and these are mostly Chinese people who are accomplished in pushing through crowds. So, I was moved out of the way, more than once, by a little old lady. So, the lesson is never take these little Chinese women lightly.
The 4D Movie
After the museum, and pit 1, we were taken to the movie house, where we were treated to a movie, in 4D.
I have to say that I’ve not heard of 4D, but I’ll play along to see what it’s all about. it turns out that 4D is simply a virtual reality movie, that allows you to look up, down, and 360 degrees, seeing everything in front and behind you.
It wasn’t a bad experience, but to bill it as 4D is dubious.
That’s it, I can’t take it any more
We had planned on visiting Pit 2, and Pit 3, but the group agreed that seeing yet another pit, where there are too many people doesn’t make sense, so we made our way back to the bus, and headed home.
Health and back care
I’ve been complaining that my back has once again, gotten very tight, and is causing some distress and pain. So, I had asked Tom to locate a chiropractor in Xi’an, where I could get some relief.
The chiropractor was only 2.5 Km away from the hotel, a brief 7 minute cab ride, in traffic.
Doctor was actually fully trained in Chiropractic, Acupuncture, Acupressure, and cups. So, I was very fortunate to find someone like this. After entering his office, and describing my problems, I could see immediately that he assessed my situation, and began applying acupressure to all of the distressed areas. The Dr. was very skilled, and without me saying anything at all, he was able to locate and begin work on all of the troubled areas. He was excellent.
Cup therapy is the process of applying glass jars to the skin, and sucking the air out of the jars so that they are stuck to your skin. I’ve had this done a number of times now, but never knew quite how they do it. So, using the translation app on my iPhone, I was able to ask him to show me, and to record it on video. So, they took my iPhone, and recorded the process. Absolutely fascinating, have a look at the video.
After they worked their magic, I asked them if they help me make a quick video of them saying hello to America.
Hurry back to the hotel – Time to go
Yesterday at the end of the day, we had left our bikes at the BMW dealer in Xi’an to have my front wheel replaced with a new wheel, and to have minor service work done. Now, after letting the bikes remain at the dealer for 24 hours, we needed to go and pick them up.
The cab ride to the dealer took about 30 minutes or so. Once we arrived, we noticed that my bike was not ready. It seems that there were a few questions that needed to be worked through., and resolved.
The dealer had really bent over backwards to help us. When we dropped off the bikes here last night, they could not locate a Taxi for us, so one of the managers gave us a ride to our hotel. This gesture of kindness is very warming, and much appreciated.
The valve stem is a No-Go
We ordered the parts almost 10 days ago, and now we’re at the dealer, only to discover that they had somehow ordered or received the wrong parts. Some of the parts were correct, while others were not. This is surprising, considering that we ordered 2 sets of identical items, yet they were still wrong.
In my case, I received the Black, spoked rim i ordered, but did not receive a valve stem, and without the valve stem, it is not possible to install the tire, without also installing a tube. When a tube is installed in a tubeless tire, it is not allowed to also install the tire pressure sensor. And so, while I had a new rim, I would need to continue to ride with a warning light on my dashboard, for the next 3000 miles or so.
For sure, it was great to get the rim replaced, but overall, I was not really happy with the quality of the work, or the amount of time it took to perform these simple repairs.
Although we had some issues getting my bike serviced, it turns out that this dealer did have a large capacity dry bag, which I could use to carry all of my daily items, thus eliminating the need for me to bring my Panniers into the hotel each and every day.
The dealer offered us a 15% discount, which was very nice of them, and this dealer also provided me with the gift of a stuffed bear, which will later be named HaHa Bear, by two adorable Chinese girls.
In Charles case, he received a silver spoked wheel, when he had ordered Black. His bike had the Tire Pressure Sensor installed, so he did not need a tube, but these rims are expensive, and it’s a real bummer to receive the wrong color.
Phil dropped off his bike, complaining that the front end was loose, and chattering. The team at Xian BMW diagnosed the problem to be a loose Triple clamp, which they tightened for him.
We later discovered that the problem had not been resolved and that the front end continues to chatter.
The trip to the hotel
2.5 M to go, we got separated
I made it home, made an illegal U-Turn at the hotel
Phil and Charles arrive 12 minutes later, or so
Finally – Dinner…
Simple dinner, beer, blogging, then bed
What will tomorrow bring
Tomorrow morning, we’re expecting rain. So, we’ll ride the XXX miles to XXX, with a wet start. Who knows what the rest of the day will bring.