Thursday, 24 July 2008

The biggest tomb in the world

The second day in Xi'an I joined a tour ran by the hostel visiting the main sights in the area for 245 yuan, which is not an awful lot more than the sum of the entrance fees. And unlike many Chinese tours they didn't make us spend dreadfully long times in tourist shops.

We visited a village from 6,000 years ago, and their house-building techniques and burial rites were explained by the guides. That was pretty interesting, certainly more so than the terracotta factory, although they did explain how the warriors were made this did seem like one of those "sell crap to tourists" stops. Then there was a place where they showed an interesting movie of Qin Shihuangdi, the "first emperor" of China, and his tomb and terracotta army.

For lunch I had two peaches, going strong with the fruitarian diet. It's not only cheap and easy, but also really good for travelling as you easily avoid any lies about fake meats or hidden chicken broths. The only downside is that I can't review vegetarian restaurants for you now. But here's the list of Xi'an vegetarian restaurants anyway. The only thing I've noticed with the fruit diet is that now I really have to eat at least twice a day while I commonly only had one meal a day with the regular vegan eating. But that's ok, closer to the norms of society anyway. I'm more convinced than ever that people just eat too much. And eating only fruits feels so much more natural than all the processed crap. I think I shall keep avoiding processed foods even though I probably won't stay fruitarian too long. Probably also no more root vegetables, but I think beans and mushrooms will lure me out of fruitarianism pretty soon.

After lunch we went to the main place, the actual terracotta army. It's mighty impressive, thousands of life-size statues of warriors built 2000 years ago. The place is simply huge. Absolute madness, for the sheer sake of the vanity of one idiot they buried alive over 10,000 workmen who built the tomb, as well as the 6,000 of his concubines who hadn't borne children. One of his sons then killed all his siblings to get to rule, but was fortunately overtaken almost immediately in a peasant uprising.

Third day, and back in the city of Xi'an they have several interesting things, including the Muslim quarters. The way to notice you're in the Muslim quarter is that occasionally (but extremely rarely actually) you see some writings in Arabic of Uighur or whatever it is on the Chinese-looking buildings, there are some (very few) women with head scarfs and a few men with the caps. But more noticeably, there's meat everywhere! The street sides are filled with baskets of raw meat, sellers have stands full of raw and prepared meat all over, and the stink is terrible. But eventually I found some fruits there too! It was also very crowded with the narrow alleys, making a Finn almost run to the nearest park despite the heat.

Xi'an is one of the few Chinese cities that still has the city walls, mostly reconstructed later but nonetheless. One interesting thing about these walls is that they're sloping... I noticed the same thing in Pingyao earlier, don't really know why they did them that way, the slope ought to make climbing easier. Anyhow, surrounding the wall there is nowadays a small park, which is quite fun. And as usual in China, parks have these exercise grounds for the elderly, or anyone really but they're especially used by the elderly.

So, having found the pull-up bar I had to make my birthday test. Long long time ago, when I was about 5 years old, my father told me one has to be able to do as many pull-ups as his age in years. When I approached 15 that felt too easy and I decided one has to go to straight arms in the pull-ups, even though that wasn't what my dad showed me when I was 5. So every year on my birthday I verify that I can still do it. Now I went a day early since I don't know if I'll run into a pull-up bar tomorrow, and since it was easy I also verified the next decade while I was at it. Things should run smoothly if I don't get any fatter or in worse shape.

But quite importantly I've noticed I must pay more attention to working. These past few days I haven't done much work to speak of, so I have to consider them days off. Fortunately I had a couple of those coming, but I really must change that and prove that this travelling+working thing really can work!

Next up, Chengdu, which lies a 16-hour train ride away.


dreamy said...

Cool! I havent been to Xian, but it looks great! How long have u gone fruit?

Jari (travelling-vegan) said...

Only like 3-4 days... and I must admit, I had a pack of nuts last night! What's worse, they were salted. Heheh.

luaay said...

could u do equivalent number of pull ups to ur age?

Jari (travelling-vegan) said...

Yes, I can do my age + 10.

The Vegan Snorkeler said...

I've always wanted to see the terra cotta warriors! Sounds awesome!

Maximilian said...

hey there! great blog! we are vegetarians traveling throughout asia at the moment and are hard pressed to find some veggie options in xi'an. we saw that link you posted on this entry but its only in chinese... if you have any more information by any chance, can you please let us know?
peace from one veggie to another!
kara and max

Jari (travelling-vegan) said...

Ah. Ok, here's a quick translation of the page then:

* Tian Bao Yan vegetarian restaurant; 1C Ci'en West Rd; on the west side of Wild Goose Pagoda; bus lines 609 or 407.
* Da Xing Shan temple vegetarian; Yanta (wild goose pagoda) district, Xing Shan West St; inside the Da Xing Shan temple.
* Miao De vegetarian; 76 Keqi Rd; bus lines 14, 400, 210, or 34.
* Su Xin Ming; Gaoxin district, Boshi Rd, Zi Wei Tian Garden City.

Hope that helps...

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Jesiah said...

I really love reading about fellow vegans and vegetarians, your journey is inspiring, i'm on the green smoothie diet right now and still strong, keep up the great postings.

Jesiah said...

I really love reading about fellow vegans and vegetarians, your journey is inspiring, i'm on the green smoothie diet right now and still strong, keep up the great postings.

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