By Hannah Kozdeba ’18 and Charlien Beeman ’16:
Yesterday was a busy day that started early for a few of us, who woke up to walk through a park and visit a local market in Xi’an. In the park there were many locals started their day by playing badminton, practicing Tai Chi, and doing other morning exercises. In the market, there were many street vendors selling fruit and vegetables as well as meats and baked goods. We bought some melons and lychee. After the market, we got breakfast at a local place where we had fried dough dipped in soy milk and a tofu soup.
We would need the extra calories later on when we toured the ruins of the ancient terra cotta warriors. The terra cotta warriors are a collection of thousands of clay soldiers buried in the tomb of Shi Huang Di, who was China’s first emperor and ruled in the Qin dynasty.
The first pavilion had 6000 warriors uncovered. Our tour guide joked that archeologists in Xi’an will never run out of work because the warriors take so long to excavate and put together. The terra cotta warriors were lined up in rows, one in front of the other. As we walked around the perimeter of all of the warriors and got closer, we were able to see the details . All of the faces of the warriors are different; some of the warriors are in better condition than others. If the rebels had not set the warriors on fire, stolen their weapons and looted them, the warriors would have not been in such battered condition.
Later we visited the wild goose pagoda, a Buddhist temple where we saw monks chanting. We visited the Buddha that we hope will bring us good fortune.
Then we went to the Muslim quarters to shop in the street stalls and practice Chinese. This market really was so cool. There were a lot of people and the sounds of horns honking from the scooters overtook our ears. There were so many different smells, too, from all of the different food vendors. There was a vendor that made cotton candy flowers.
After walking towards the end of the street and into a shop that was never ending, we started our bargaining. One item that we could get for 20 yuan from one vendor, only cost five at the next vendor. As soon as you start to walk away from a vendor is when they start to lower the price. The vendors are so skilled at pulling you in and making you buy something.
Then we headed back to our hotel. Zhang laoshi had a very special surprise for us. Her uncle was going to take us out to a restaurant that had authentic Xi’an food. We ate at a local restaurant where we had yang rou pao mo, a Xi’an specialty. It is a lamb soup made with broth that is over hundreds of years old. They gave you a piece of bread that reminded me of thick pita bread.
We had a bowl and had to break the bread into very small pieces. After we filled half of our bowl with the small pieces of bread, they gave us a number and took our bowl. We then waited for our food. When they came out with our soup one by one. The steam consumed our faces. The noodles were like angel hair and completely transparent. The soup was incredible.
Afterwards we retired to our hotel to rest before our long trip to Beijing in the morning.