Sunday, June 10, 2007

"The Eighth Wonder of the World" and it wasn't the Veggie Meat

Today we had the opportunity to see what many consider the 8th wonder of the world: The Terra Cotta Soldiers. Now, if you are not familiar with them, about 200 years B.C. an emperor decided that when he died he wanted to make sure he had an army to defend him in the after life, so he commanded his people to make him an 8000 person army out of clay to be buried with him. The entire project (including the building of his tomb that has never been opened) began when he was in his teens and wasn't finished until he had been dead for 3 years (which ended up being over 40 years).

For me, this was one of the neatest things we have done on this trip because it was an example of just how rich and ancient Chinese history really is. The detail that was given to each soldier was amazing, and there was just rows and rows of them. The park that they are in is completely massive. Many of them are still covered, but they have 3 huge pavilions that people can go into to see what has been uncovered and what yet needs to be uncovered.

We did two other things today. Next we went to a site were bones that are over 6000 years old were found. The bodies are still in the ground but have been uncovered enough to see them along with the outlines of their homes, pottery and other artifacts.

Last, we visited a massive monument that is called the Wild Goose Pagoda. It's difficult to explain so you will have to look at the picture of it below. It was built for a man who walked to India to learn about Buddhism and brought the teachings back to the Chinese people. The tower is now surrounded by beautiful gardens. Most of us walked to the top of the tower (all 238 steps) to see the view from the top.

Dinner tonight was interesting. We went to a Buddhist restaurant, and if you didn't know, Buddhists are vegetarians...but that doesn't mean we didn't have meat. Not meat...meat. But tofu meats. Surprisingly they have done a very good job in making it look and taste like meat. I know must of us were leery about what was coming, but ended up being quite pleased.

We were given the rest of the evening off. Most of us hit up the markets again...if we weren't there then we were hanging out at the Hostel. It's been really fun there because it's so communal and really does provide the atmosphere that college kids are looking for.

Once again...we are all doing well...we are all safe...and we are all having fun. Have a good one.
Two of us Standing in front of the Terra Cotta Soldiers
A picture of the Wild Goose Pagoda in the background and the Buddah in the front.

A picture of the Terra Cotta Soldiers. This really was really neat. Each one of their faces was made to look like a specific soldiers (aka...each one is unique).

3 of us standing in front of what our guide called the ambulance section. It's where they try to piece back the broken ones that were destroyed shortly after the emporer died. They people weren't too impressed with what he required the people to do (build his tomb and the Great Wall).

More of us looking at the Soldiers.

The statue we are posing around is the a statue of the guy that made the journey.

There is a story behind this picture. At dinner tonight they gave us the most delicious Sushi. Our table had one extra and we couldn't decide who should get it. Since our food was on a lazy susan we spun the lazy susan and who ever it stopped on got the sushi. Thus, Chris was the victor. We then changed the rules by picking a food that nobody wanted to eat and then spun then LS again and whoever that food stopped on had to take a nice sized portion. We were laughing so hard, and had such a good time with even got some of us to eat good we never would have done other wise.

Some of the boys posing with our Sponsor. He is one of the men that has made out trip possible and has treated us very well since we arrived in Xi'an.

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