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Email: Adventures in China – Socks and Terracotta Warriors

«Xian – Terracotta Warriors

Date: Saturday, 29 September 2001 03:53 PDT
Subject: Adventures in China

Here’s the next installment of “Adventures in China”.

We arrived in Xian last night. We took a train from Luoyang. Both cities are approximately six million. The train ride took about six hours.

During the trip, we had hawkers coming through selling everything from hot food, cold food, books, magazines and socks. I bought the socks since we had everything else (mine are all dirty).

The salesman demonstrated the socks with all the seriousness of a brain surgeon. First, he showed that they wouldn’t run. He took out a large pin, pierced the socks and then moved his hand parallel to the socks. He held one end of the sock in one hand and the other between his knees. Next he showed that they were flame retardant by touching them with the flame of a BIC lighter.

I don’t know why I would need flameproof socks. But, I bought them anyway. There were three to a pack for Y10 ($1.20). Everyone else thought they were a rip-off and laughed that we would pay so much. I’m wearing them now. The only problem is with them is that they are a little small. I guess my feet are a little larger than the salesman’s other customers.

Today, we saw the Terracotta Warriors. This is the number three attraction in China. They were discovered by farmers digging a well in 1974. The clay soldiers are housed in three large buildings. One is the size of an aircraft hanger. They are 2,000 years old. The soldiers were made for Emperor Qin. Apparently, he believed that they would be of use in the afterlife (similar to believers in Egypt).

The sight is really quite striking when you enter ‘Pit 1’. There they are, all lined up in neat rows dressed in battle array. They are accompanied by horses. Every solider is different – leading to the idea that they were modeled after real people. There were also some bronze figures (chariots) and lots of bronze weapons.

On Monday, we plan to take another train to Chengdu.

Hope everything is going well –
Darren and Sandy