I didn’t think so. Neither can I … I think I learned how to say it when I was there, but it escapes me … as does a lot of things nowadays.
After driving to Chongqing, we went to the zoo to see the Pandas. Having lived in San Diego, CA for nine years, I had seen the pandas many times at the San Diego Zoo, so I wasn’t really interested.
We had lunch and then flew to Xian. This city dates back 3000 years. Here, in the U.S., we think our 150 year old buildings are old. We’re very impressed with things dating from the 1800s, hence the popularity of Antiques Road Show. Xian was the capital of China for 12 imperial dynasties. It sits at the terminus of the old Silk Road. There was a wall with a moat around the city which I would have liked to have seen, but we didn’t have the energy to walk any segment of it, nor did we feel inclined to bicycle around it. Actually, I don’t bicycle anywhere. Lord, I might break a hip or something.
We boarded our buses for the ride to our hotels. We stayed at the Hilton. Actually, all the hotels we stayed at were top-notch; more top-notch than we ever choose ourselves. We never thought about the fact that we were, in fact, paying for them. So we were just very impressed and felt very wealthy … hobnobbing and all that. I had forgotten my hair gel when I packed and there was no shop on our boat, so I asked at the front desk if they had a gift shop where I could get some. There was not. After a little confusion as to what I was asking, one of the managers told one of the other managers, (an assistant, I assume, and he was really cute) to take me out to a salon where I could get some. Having seen the traffic on the big divided street as we came in, I was a little fearful. Scary, crazy drivers.So Jim and I and this manager ventured out into traffic “hell”. We crossed it without losing life or limb and entered a barber shop. All the men turned and watched us. Really. All activity stopped. After gesturing and head shaking, I managed to get this one man to understand I wanted gel. I got some in a really pretty pink bottle. I don’t know what kind it is because I can’t read Chinese. And I think it cost a lot of money.And I would have liked to have stayed around that shop longer because one man was getting pin curls in his hair. You older ladies will know what those are. I wonder what he looked like in his “finished state”? Then, you guessed it, we had to cross the street from “hell”, again. We made it! Life was all good after that. I might have looked really dorky with those black braces on my feet and ankles, but my hair looked good. And it smelled really good, as well. I had been using a hairspray that I found in my cupboard at home and once I had to use it, I remembered why I had it in the cupboard. I hated the smell! Well, now my hair smelled good, in case anyone wanted to smell it.
We ate dinner at the hotel that night and just did our own thing. Some people went out and shopped; others did the city wall thing. We did the drinking in the cocktail lounge thing.
Xian is the sight of the Terracotta Warriors. For those of you who aren’t familiar with what they are, don’t feel bad. I’ve found many people since we got back that never heard of them. The Tang Dynasty ruled over China from 618 to 907. One of the greatest emperors, Qin, (pronounced Chin) wanted to be sure he was protected even after he died, so he had an army of warriors sculpted to protect his flanks in his afterlife. These were all formed from terracotta and were life-size. Their faces were all different to resemble actual men in his army. They’re dressed in the kind of uniform they would have worn based on their station on life. And their hats are different.
In 1974, a farmer digging for a well unearthed part of these figures. A young archaeologist heard about it and the excavation began. There are now 7000 figures that have been unearthed. There are many more, but they need to find a way to unearth those until they can find a way to do so without the painted surfaces getting destroyed. There are even horses and chariots! And they haven’t opened Qin’s tomb because he was buried on a layer of mercury. They don’t know how to deal with that either.
As with every other “touristy” spot, about a million Chinese were vacationing and visiting here too. This time, though, they didn’t have their umbrellas as this was indoors. I didn’t have to worry about getting stabbed in the eye. We learned here as well, that Chinese have no “personal space”. To a Westerner, this was disconcerting to say the least. I still chuckle when I think about a very nice, quiet, proper, lady from Scotland elbowing people out-of-the-way while trying to move back from an exhibit. I guess you could say our tempers were being tested. And we weren’t winning. My own confession? I was near the front of one exhibit and was in the process of taking a picture when a lady squeezed in front of me, blocking my view. So what did I do? Every time she raised her camera, I leaned into her so her camera jostled. She never even noticed or looked around. Kinda spoiled my fun. Okay, so now you know … I have a mean streak in a “get back atcha” kind of way.
Thankfully, this was all indoors so it wasn’t quite so hot. Not cold, mind you. They don’t seem to have cold air-conditioning over there. But, it wasn’t hot until we walked outside into the high 90s, once again.
Believe it or not, when we got back to the hotel, we decided to go out and find some of the shops people had told us they found the night before. We never found them, but we did manage to get lost. After some mini arguments, we made it back to the hotel. I was right, of course. I have a great sense of direction. Really great. Great sense of direction. Believe me. (mimicking Donald Trump, here).
That night we went to the Tang Dynasty dinner and show. On the way, we saw a telephone lineman’s nightmare. I really enjoyed the beautiful costumes and the dances, which were ballet-type dancing with a little acrobatic during some of the stories. All in all, it was a good, but exhausting day. Again. Time to pack up to get ready to leave the next day for Beijing. This will our final city before we fly home. Bring on the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. We are ready!