Today was another very exciting (and roasty toasty) day in Xi’an. We started out at the Wild Goose Pagoda, which was built in 652 AD during the Tang Dynasty to house the Buddhist scriptures brought back to China from India by a monk named Xuanzang (the story of the Monkey King describes his journey to India and back). The area around the pagoda is a working monastery. They created a huge mural showing the life of Buddha that was created using all different colors of jade (the picture to the right shows a portion of the mural depicting his birth). You might not be able to tell in the picture to the right that the pagoda is leaning a bit due to the angle I took it from, but the locals call it the “leaning tower of Xi’an.” We took a group picture in the gardens so you can check out our fun fellow travelers, the Martinez family from Miami and the Lambies from Los Gatos.
After the pagoda we visited a factory where they create exact replicas of the Terra Cotta Warriors using the same methods that were used to create the originals for the emperor Qin Shihuangdi. They also create other traditional Chinese crafts like lacquered furniture and we were able to hear how they go about making them.
We had a yummy lunch, which included a noodle dish that Xi’an is famous for, and then we were off to see the Terra Cotta Warriors. It was amazingly hot and humid inside the Pit 1 hanger, but seeing all the soldiers lined up was almost enough to make you forget about the heat. We learned all kinds of fascinating information about the excavation and their plans for the future.
In the evening, we attended a Tang Dynasty dumpling dinner and musical show, which was pretty amazing. The dumplings were delicious, of course, and the music, costumes and sets were super impressive.
We leave tomorrow for our Yangtze River cruise and might not have access to the internet for a few days, but we’ll be back online to tell you about our adventures once we get to Hong Kong.