(From our trip in April 2018)
Today is a bucket list day for me for sure. I have wanted to see the Terracotta Warriors for years and years and I am finally going to. It’s a funny thing, ticking off a bucket list item. You build it up so much in your mind beforehand it’s always a toss of the coin as to how good it will be.
To ensure that we had the best experience I started hunting online for an amazing private guide months and months before our trip. I was trawling the Trip Advisor forums and kept seeing this man’s name pop up as an amazing guide. Over and over I saw Bryan Bai’s name referred to with ooh’s and aah’s but I could never find a web address for him or a spot for all of his reviews online. It was like trying to find a superhero who didn’t want to be found. It was really quite frustrating and eventually like the true stalker I am, I messaged someone on the forum who raved about him and then I was cooking with gas. From the minute I first contacted Bryan Bai he was so warm and wise and wonderful…..all the W words and a whole lot of other letters of the alphabet. You all know I love me a good tour guide and that my standards are pretty high so if I tell you someone is good – you better believe they are GOOOODDDDD!!!!
BOOK HIM RIGHT NOW!!! Sorry that was a tad aggressive but….DO IT!!!!
This is us with Bryan – clearly we are very very excited. Embarrassingly so lol.
We arrived nice and early so we could get a jump on the crowds and tour buses. This place can get pretty packed so it was nice to have someone to guide us through entry quickly.
Once you get inside Building 1 you are instantly hit in the face with how enormous this undertaking of excavation and preservation is. This is where the most preserved warriors are and the more advanced restoration has taken place.
In case you don’t know much about the warriors – let me now give you my version of the Idiot’s Guide to the Terracotta Warriors:-
- Some farmers were digging on their land in the 1970’s and stumbled across some terracotta bits and bobs
- Appaz this then became one of the biggest archaelogical (I can’t spell that word) finds in history
- Roughly 2,200 years old, give or take a day or two
- 8000 warriors – each one completely unique (which blows my mind)
- The soldiers and horses were buried there as a kind of “spirit” army for some Emperor dude who clearly wanted to punch on in the afterlife with some other dead Emperor
There, now do you feel a little bit smarter??? All this real info is exhausting. Let’s all go for a little lie down and go back to shits and giggles in a minute.
I’m going to let my photos do the talking for a bit…..enjoy!!!
Some of the still being restored warriors up the back
This guy is the 95% complete guy. He’s so special he gets his own glass display case – cause he’s A BIG DEAL!!! The detail work really is what stands out to me. So intricate and amazing!
This guy is the highest ranking dude – he’s the General. He’s the big kahuna of terracotta warriordom
Building 2 & 3 are only half excavated but it was really good to see how the process works. And it really shows you what an incredible job the restoration team have been doing over the decades to get Building 1 looking so impressive.
It’s almost impossible to fully explain everything we saw and learned about the Terracotta Warriors during our time wandering through all of the buildings and seeing all of the amazing things. But I can promise you it did live up to the hype. It was all that and a packet of tim tams!!!
On our way out we stopped buy to nom nom nom on some live scorpions because who doesn’t like to play russian roulette with their food and death. I’m joking, we did not eat the scorpions. I honestly think they are a bit of a gimmick for the tourists but Bryan assures us that people do eat them. Yikes!!!
Next up was the Banpo Museum. Now to be perfectly honest I had not heard of this place until I started reading about Xian but once I knew these Banpo people were living their life happily 6000 years ago I was intrigued. It was incredible to see the site of some of their houses and trying to imagine this existence. I was really quite taken with this place. I mean….6000 years ago folks!
Several times today I have seen what they fondly call here the “Beijing Bikini”. Seriously blokes, this is an assault on my eyes. I feel very uncomfy with the belly baring but it’s a thing here and we saw it often throughout the trip. Here is just two of the fine specimens that felt I needed to see their guts today. It may cool you down fellas but it ain’t pretty.
We then headed to the Big Wild Goose Pagoda. It was one of the things to tick off the tourist list of Xian and whilst it was an impressive building and the gardens were beautiful – it was just okay for me to be honest.
This was the end of our long day with Bryan Bai and again I highly recommend this true gentleman if you are visiting Xian. I was also very impressed with the cost of this considering it was a private tour with a lovely car for the whole day. I love being able to customise to our interests and Bryan Bai could not have been more accommodating (more on how he goes above and beyond in tomorrow’s update).
After a quick freshen up back at the hotel, we walked to the Muslim Market for a wander around. Man these markets have some weird and wonderful sights to see. All the noise and smells and colours really have your senses on high alert.
Old mate below was carving this animal up like a savage and meat was flicking left and right. I was freaking out some might land in my hair. I started to imagine what I would do to this guy if any of that meat landed on me but I decided he was the one wielding the sharp object – might be best to just “imagination” tell him off. Serious skills though – those other 3 carcasses are down to the bone without a drop of meat to be found…ewwwwy.
This is taking fresh meat a little too seriously – I mean I think I just saw this animal running in the field. Ick Ick Ick. Alot of the meat situation at this market made me again swear to be a vegetarian for the rest of the trip. I’m not sure how I feel about the lack of refrigeration and watching my animal be sliced and diced. It’s all a little too farm straight to table for me. Give me some gladwrap and a styrofoam tray and a hygenic supermarket meat section any day.
Eventually I found a dude doing potatoes. Whew, I can do potatoes. Potatoes I can handle. Yep okay potatoes it is.
We were starting to feel pretty exhausted by now and this sickness I have contracted seems to be reaching fever pitch. I actually spent last night coughing and coughing and I remember standing at the bathroom sink at 5am having a little cry because I was so frustrated that I was sick for all the good bits of the trip. Hopefully things start to improve soon with this black plague or whatever it is I am dying of.
Next up we are heading to Beijing and some amazing adventures….