July 30 - 31, 2001

 Our Travel Experience

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Tourist Info


Our Travel Experience

Seth *really* wanted to see these Terra Cotta Warriors, so instead of flying direct from Beijing to Chongqing, the city where our Yangtzee River cruise started, we made a quick, one night detour to Xi'an.

- Rented a car & driver from the Hyatt from the airport
- A very PROFESSIONAL looking driver, dark pants, white shirt, dark sunglasses even
- Talked to the concierge about our plans for the next day many pre planned tours that we didn't want .... we wanted warriors FIRST! and maybe only, then a ride to the airport
- Hyatt hotel bar for pizza dinner & darts
- Kristen using the business center early
- Big buffet with many Japanese tourists ....ahhh beans...
- Having the concierge write up an itinerary of four *possible* destinations. We'd just point to where we wanted the driver to take us. It was to the Warriors first.
- brief glimpse of the city wall as we drove away
- drive through mostly rural areas to the warriors
- dropoff right at the entrance
- the farmer who discovered the terra cotta army signing books right at the entrace
- tourist "trap" shopping stalls, both inside & out as we walked to the entrance
- not stopping, going DIRECT to the entrance
- total confusion as we entered, where was hall #1, hall #2 and hall #3?
- randomly entering what turned out to be the museum
- Tara being eager to get to the warriors themselves
- but, kool computer kiosks with information

Finally finding Hall #1 and reading tourist info from the sheets Tara had printed off the interent
- numerous "don't take photos" signs and how every tourist was taking a photo (us included)!
- walking down the covered excavation site and realizing how the excavation was far from finished
- the statues in the back with small plastic baskets by their feet containing various body parts. ie. the soldier's head or arm (not yet reattached)
- the "glue" lines in the warriors who'd had the bits in their baskets reattached
- Tara's absolute fascination with the unfinished warriors and their little baskets
- walking through to Hall #3 & seeing even less excavation completed; trying to figure out the scheme of the place based upon our printed tourist info
- enjoying sitting outside on the steps
- Entering the final hall and realizing that less than 5% had been excavated
- Reading that more than X charriots were in the hall and seeing only two. Realizing the other xx were under the squarish lumps of earth. Realizing the terra cotta warrior hall must have been the same.

- seeing workers chairs and light setups, but seeing no workers
- Admiring the reconstructed high ranking soldier's statues in glass cases
- Deciding that we were finished and stopping for a drink while everyone went back to the museum toilet and Tara just had to have one more look at the first hall with the warriors waiting for pieces to be reattached.

- The MOB of vendors selling warrior replicatas surging around the exit
- The noodle restaurant where we had lunch
- The special "air-conditioned" room at the back with decor left to be desired (ie. open cracks, ducktape)
- Ordering more than we anticipated. GOOD tea with bits floating in it (that Tara wouldn't drink - no water!)
- The good friend noodle dishes continued our streak of finding good, local, cheap food
- The hand calculating of our bill
- The hand pulling of noodles right outside the shop. The friendly man who let Kristen take his photos.

- Stopping into a tourist shop to get Dave Dalben a 'thank-you' present for the pants he loaned Seth. The man who quickly carved a "DALBEN" name stamp. Then Seth getting a "SETH" stamp. And finally Kristen getting a "MCQUILLIN" stamp. Amazing that the guy could carve so many letters in such a small place.
- Tara glancing at a T-shirt in a nearby shop and the shop's lady *running* over to us with the shirt
- The two kids who'd "trapped" Tod & Kristen
- Finding our way out again through the tourist shop building
- The farmer still sitting and signing books
- Our driver magically had the car pulled up in front of the exit for us when we emerged

- We decided to visit a garden

- It was surprisingly nearby
- We wandered around for a while until we saw a sign saying "massage" in English. This sounded good to Seth and Kristen especially
- After much confusion, we learned that you didn't just get a massage, you got a bath and a massage
- Well, Kristen wasn't too keen on going alone and Tod was not going. So, Tara teemed up with Kristen and Seth went it alone.
- We really had no idea what we were doing, but we sorted it out. Towels and soap were provided.
- The shower/bath room was old but clean enough. There was one temperature for the water that we could figure out
- We showered and then couldn't decide if we were supposed to get dressed or not
- We errored on the side of prudence and did get dressed
- When we wandered out of our room, people came running to help us and we received our massages
- Tara's masseus and her had a very in depth conversation in Chinese which consisted of Tara counting to 4 and the lady masseus counting the rest of the way to 20 with Tara trying to mimick her sounds.
- Seth finally emerged.
- The shower and massage was very refreshing in the hot weather
- Right as we were leaving, we asked using sign language if we could take a photo down the hall. All the people working in the place scrambled out of the way so as not to be photographed. hmmmm.
- A man though did offer to take our photo by the sign ouside that had lured us in in the first place.
- Tara's other memorable fact about the garden was it's woman's toilet
- Imagine an open room with a long concete trench about 6 inches wide running parrallel to a wall with about 12 inches of concrete between the wall and the trench. The trench was probably 5 feet deep.
- Due to Tara's experience with Japanese toilets, she figured you put one leg on either side of the trench. It worked well.
- The smell wasn't that appealing.... however, many times since, Tara has gone into a nasty smelling, dirty stall that has been heavily perfumed and long for the simplicity of a concrete trench. It's saving grace was that the distance from you to the trench was much greater than the distance from you to dirty toilet seat.
- Our driver again surprised us by having the car waiting outside the exit just as we emerged. He must have been watching for us to approach and then run for the vehicle.

- The car accident on the way to the airport with many people hanging around and looking at the animated screeming.
- Getting to the airport only to discover that our flight was massively delayed
- Tara using the "get the tickets endorsed" to another airline trick which meant we could leave two hours later than scheduled, but two hours before our delayed flight
- Buying a phone card and calling the CITS travel service to change our pickup time in Chongqing
- Drawing a diagram for the phone lady and the security guard to ask "Can I use this phone card throughout all of China?"
- Sitting in the ground floor "no-smoking" sign adorned, smoke-filled diner
- Writing post cards
- Enjoying dinner in the airport restaurant
- Tara's first 'Hun runs' scare. A scare only with stomache pains. Good thing we'd packed our own TP. Only one restroom had any and it had run out between Tara's first and second visit. The roll was outside of the stalls in a common area.

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Tourist Info
 Day 4    Mon 30 Jul    Beijing to Xian

China Air Flight CA1201    1335-1505
Hyatt Regency car transfer (RMB 450 one way)
Room Reservation #288532 & 288533 (US$112+ 15% tax per room- officially included one bfast per room - but we all ate for free)

Day 5     Tue 31 Jul    Xian to Chongqing
Internal Flight    WH2403    1800-1905
Flight delayed, so had our tickets endorsed to another carrier