Friday, April 12, 2013

Qin Shi Huang's Revenge

A long time ago, in a country not too far away, I had a friend named...let's call him Lick (that's a Korean joke).  Lick went to Beijing, and he got amoebic dysentery while he was there.  Being unwilling to miss out on all the things he went there to see, he tried not to let this stop him.  But while he was out shopping one day, he really, REALLY had to go, and the result was catastrophic.  Let's just leave it at the fact that you don't want to have explosive diarrhea when a squatty potty is your only option.
This little memory ran through my head as I was attempting to get myself together last Monday.  I didn't want to be the girl who went to Xi'An and DIDN'T see the terracotta warriors.  I also didn't want to be the girl who "redecorated" the bathroom at the site of the terracotta warriors.  And it's a big site - this was the biggest of the three pits, and there is no bathroom in any of the buildings.  So I felt like this was a legitimate concern.  Did I let it stop me?  Obviously not.  However, I didn't get much out of the other things we saw - Banpo neolithic village or Emperor Qin's tomb, and I only ate a little rice at the lunch, which was part of the price of the tour, and that was a shame since we had to drive over some really sketchy roads to get there.  I honestly wasn't that interested in them, so it wasn't that big a loss.
On the trip over, our guide - who went by the English name "Coffee" - asked if we knew that the terracotta warriors were in pieces.  He then went on to relate that nobody knows who broke them, but that there is speculation that it was done after he died by a rebel general, Xiang Yu.  I asked if he wouldn't have had to dig the warriors up to do that.  Poor Coffee didn't have an answer to that, and awkwardly moved on with his lecture.  Yes, yes, shame on me.
Peppermint was pretty impressed by the warriors and asked me to take her picture with them.  She was looking a lot better that day than I was, and I figured one of us deserved to have a commemorative photo.  Nobody asked me what I was doing this time.

You probably have heard all about the warriors.  You know no two are alike, although the bodies were very similar in a lot of them.  What can I possibly say to add to your knowledge?  Not a whole lot.  And unfortunately I was too sick to come up with any witty comments or snide remarks.  Once we made it to the site, I went off on my own from my tour group - I wanted to follow the advice of Lonely Planet and work my way from Pit 3 backwards to Pit 1.  I didn't quite manage it; what I thought was Pit 3 was actually the on-site museum, which had some neat stuff, including the two bronze chariots they unearthed here.  Oops.  Pit 3 was supposed to have been the "command center" and so I was kicking myself a little for not getting to see it, but hell, at least I made it there.  Also very cool to see was the restoration experts at work.  They reminded me of all my puzzle-loving friends and how much they might enjoy working here.  Belynda would, at any rate, if her comments when we were looking at ruins in Egypt are anything to go by.  Anyways, it was another China moment crossed off my list, and I was ready as hell to get to Shanghai.

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