Location: Xi'an

Waking up today at 7:00 am, having breakfast, and getting our belongings together in time to go sight-seeing was a little stressful, but we went through it. After rushing ourselves to get into the bus, we were all eager to learn what we were supposed to do that day. Daniel, our tour guide, told us that we were going to see the eighth wonder of the world, the Terra-Cotta Warriors. On the way there, during the long bus ride, most of the group sang together songs from playlists on their phones, which was quite fun. We first went to a small factory devoted to recreating the Terra-Cotta Warriors. There, we learned about how the terra-cotta was made in the past: using a kiln. They were selling many terra-cotta figurines, where some of the group bought their souvenirs. Later, we took a half hour bus ride to see the real Terra-Cotta Warriors up close. First, we went to Pit #1, where it was very crowded, but we were able to take some nice pictures while learning about the history of it from Daniel. According to him, the emperor of the Qin Dynasty spent most of his rule declaring and going to war. He believed in the afterlife, and out of anxiety ordered his people to create Terra-Cotta Warriors to surround his grave and protect him as soldiers in his afterlife. Around 1974, farmers were digging in what was at that time farmland and found a piece of the Terra-Cotta Warriors, which was fully in color, but when the archaeologists found it and exposed it to the current world’s oxygen, the color of those warriors quickly diminished. When the archaeologists were excavating the warriors, some of them were partially destroyed. Some more were destroyed or even toppled over during the earthquake of 2008 in Xi’an. Later, we were walking on our way to Pit #3 when Elliot was approached by a man who wanted to sell him a set of five Terra-Cotta Warriors for fifty yuan, but the man was so annoying that Elliot bought it just because he wanted the man to stop bothering him. Right after that, the same man came up to Moshe and offered it to him for fifty yuan, but Moshe quickly bargained it to twenty-five yuan, which was hilarious since Elliot bought it right before for double the price of Moshe. In Pit #3, we saw some more Terra-Cotta warriors where we saw many bones and traps and learned even more about the history of the warriors. Then, we ate lunch in the museum, and the main dish was noodles, which were made on the spot by a chef right in front of us. After lunch, we went to Pit #2, which includes many traps, bones, and showed in glass cases many different types of warriors. For example, one of the warriors was a kneeling archer. We went to see a short film talking about the history of the Terra-Cotta Warriors after that, and some of us bought coffee or another ice cream. When the movie finished, I was walking outside of the theater towards the rest of the group, and a very pretty doll caught my eyes. The person selling that doll told me that it was three hundred eighty yuan, but I was able to bargain it for two hundred yuan, which was pretty fun to bargain. We quickly went to the bus, so then we can go to the train station and catch our train back to Beijing. While waiting for our train, we stopped by a McDonald’s and ate an early dinner there. The food came in really small packages, and most of us were still hungry, but we were able to distract our hunger by playing some games, which were fun! At the train, we shared many laughs, and some of us even stayed up pretty late, but today was really fun, and I hope to enjoy many more travels we make during our time in China!

– Sheindel Gamerberg