After my week in North Korea, I returned to Beijing, China for a day, and then continued on to Xi’an on 2015-04-20. My friend Emily is currently living there, which made for a perfect opportunity to drop by to see a friend, and to check out the Terracotta Warriors. I only spent 3 days there, but in those few days, I saw a bit of the local expat scene, got to know a small bit of town, and saw for myself the legendary
I took a train from Beijing to Xi’an, and during the journey, the pollution and smog from Chinese industry was incredible. Visibility barely extended to the buildings next to the train track, and as I stared out the window in disgust, I could see individual clouds of pollution washing over China.
Entering the Terracotta Warriors excavation and exhibition area, I was immediately hit by a barrage of Chinese tourist concessions, vendors, and crowds – which I had come to expect. The tourist concession area was newly built, but most of the vendor stalls were half occupied or empty – another case of grand building without the business, or culture really, to fill it.
Before entering the main excavation, I saw a quick intro film – in the round! Notably, this system still used old 8mm projectors, all setup to run in synchronized loops.
The main hall of Terracotta Warriors. There are actually three excavation sites, but this one was by far the most impressive. The entire site is ringed by a tourist walkway, with lots of photos being taken at all times.
The warriors are in various states of repair, and each face is unique.
Lines and lines of warriors.
Terracotta horses, preserved in the musem.
An incredible amount of the asian tourists there had selfie sticks, which the used continuously, even for non-selfies. It very much looked like they were being led around by their selfie sticks.