Friday, September 30, 2011
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
One of the main attractions that brings people to Xi’an are the Terracotta Warriors. You’ve probably seen them on National Geographic or the History Channel. I had seen pictures of them, but I didn’t know the background. Nonetheless, I was still very excited to get to see them. Like I said, old stuff fascinates me. The Terracotta Warriors were built by Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of China, in 3rd Century B.C. Ok, he actually didn’t build them all himself, but he ordered 700,000 workers to build what archeologists estimate to be over 8,000 life-size, individualized soldiers, 130 chariots with 520 horses and 150 cavalry horses to guard his empire in the afterlife, the majority of which are still buried in the pits. I’ve concluded that this emperor had a bit of an ego and he took it with him to the afterlife.
A couple of centuries after the emperor died, irate rebellious peasants broke into the tomb and destroyed many of the warriors. Since the discovery of warriors in 1974 archeologists have worked to reassemble them. They are on exhibit here and other museums around the world. But if you are going to see a Terracotta Warrior it might as well be here.
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
My fascination with ancient cities and really old stuff made Xi’an an immediate intrigue for me. Xi’an (pronounced she-on, translated means western peace) is one of the oldest cities in China, with more than 3,100 years of history, it is one of the Four Great Ancient Capitals of China, having held that position under several of the most important dynasties in Chinese history, including Zhou, Qin, Han, Sui, and Tang.
Consistent with other ancient Chinese cities Xi’an has a city wall that was built during the Ming Dynasty (600 years ago). What is unique about Xi’an’s city wall is that it is completely intact and original. The Chinese built things to last.
The Drum tower. Built in 1380 during the Ming dynasty. The characters and décor around the tower symbolize good fortune and was beaten at the end of the day. It is also an excellent landmark so you know where you are and which way you need to go to find the markets or get back to the hotel.
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
I saw some amazing sights in China. But the best times were had when we were hanging out with our Chinese friends. And one of the most fun nights was when went to a KTV. What is KTV? It is karaoke. Chinese style. And it makes any American Karaoke bar with individuals who are a little tipsy and can’t sing a tune seem pretty lame.
At KTV you get a private room with an amazing sound system, lights, and food, that is just big enough for you and your friends. There are hundreds of songs for you to choose from, Chinese and English. And you can sing by yourself or with all your friends. Mostly, we sang in English. And mostly, we sang together.
This was one of those nights that I will never forget. We had so much fun together. We learned more about the Chinese culture and grew to love it even more. And they learned more about us. Music has a way of bringing people together. All cultures around the world have it. So all world leaders that are at odds should just sit down and sing together because KTV is another one of those activities that would solve all world conflicts.
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
For at least a decade I have wanted to soar through the air by way of paragliding. I knew that no means of persuasion would ever entice me to force myself to jump out of a moving aircraft, thousands of feet above the ground. You can just keep your million dollars. However, running off a mountain and soaring away sounded like something I knew I could more than handle. In fact, I would love it. So, this summer the opportunity came when Cloud Nine offered a deal for half price on a tandem flight. Finally, after ten years and rescheduling four times due to rough winds we were able to take off.
On your mark…
Yeah, I could get use to this.