X is for Xian

The Generals, Qin's Terracotta Army
A few years ago, I travelled to Xian, mainland China, with two things on my mind.  One, was to see Qin Shi Huang's, Terracotta Army; the other was to climb a nearby mountain.  Qin Shi Huang was the First Emperor of China, and his army dates back to 210 BC.  Old and dusty, my friends.  Old and dusty.  What I remember mostly about Xian is the dust, unbearable heat and a backstreet encounter with some mushroom dumplings which is another story on its own.  Xian is an small city, developing, part old, part new, -all within its own fortified walls and gates, which I was informed, were still locked at night.   

On the day we visited the tombs of Qin's Terracotta Army, it was incredibly hot, the sun's rays blinded myself and my two travelling companions as we stumbled out of the once-was-white mini-van, gathering our gear...you know, all that paraphernalia, small bags and cameras.  We struggled whilst our ultra calm tour guide who barely broke a sweat, stood waiting on a nearby dirt path, chatting away with local stall holders. We had indeed arrived at the site of the famous 'Terracotta Warriors', but we would need to navigate our way through the surrounding crops of tourist markets to reach the front gates.

I stopped at the first set of stalls where rows of large coats of dark fur hung, suspended from rails, russet brown and black.  I reached out, brushing my fingers along the softness of the pelts.  "You want to buy?"  An old wrinkled dude, brown raisin skin, almost toothless, leered at me.  "What is it?" I asked.  "Volf." Came the toothless reply.  Slightly puzzled, I looked at our guide.  "Volf?  Does he mean Wolf?" Our guide laughed and leant in towards me.  "He says 'Wolf' but actually it's dog.  Like, Alsatian, yes?"  He nodded at me before walking away.  I released the doggy fur and waved off the stall holder.  He wasn't to know that my first dog was an Alsatian called Reckless.  There would be no sale today.

Photo credit: via friendlyplanet

A/N:  I could rabbit on about Xian but in the interest of keeping the post short, I'll just say this - it's worth a visit, there is so much to explore nearby, the Terracotta Army is amazing, the dumplings too, and I will return because, 'due to adverse weather conditions', i.e fog, I couldn't climb the mountain, and it still calls to me.


  1. Xian sounds interesting. And that poor dog. I've heard rumors that they eat dog in China. Is that true?

  2. I'm so jealous. I've always wanted to go to Xian and see the Army!

    My blog's disappeared so my temporary home is here!

  3. What an exciting historical trip that was. Loved the post. But oh, that dog story.
    Love and peace,

  4. Brilliant use of the word X! And great post! I hope you write more on your travels there. I'd love to hear all about it.

  5. Word? Word!?! Letter 'X' (lol) Have a lovely day! ;)

  6. Very cool! This is one place that is on my To Do List. We want to take an extensive trip to China. Great post!

  7. How lucky you are to have traveled there & seen such a historical treasure.

    So, were those mushroom dumplings that good? :)

  8. Angela, Xian's great. And, er...yes dog does appear in some places but I've never actually tried it.

    Talli, it's definitely worth a trip, hope you get there one day. ;)

    Manzanita, thank you! And, you are quite right, there's a great, great history lesson to be had in places like Xian.

    Danette, cheers my dear! Very glad you enjoyed it. *clink*

    Stephen, thank you too! I hope you make your trip to China, definitely an interesting place to visit. ;-)

    Lisa, some of the dumplings were good, others not so. ;-)

  9. Oh wow, I'd love to see that army! I'll go with you when you go back to climb that mountain. Deal? :)

  10. I am so glad I read the entire post, the mushroom dumplings had me thinking you ate them and fell off the mountain. I too am a wandervolf and am not easily shocked. But, I've never been to the Asian countries, I was going Kuala Lampur right after 9=11 but the anthrax yada, yada, well didn't make it. Lost the hotel and everything.

    Your blog seems uber cool, look forward to more, just linked up.

  11. I watched this documentary show about the terra cotta warriors and I have wanted to see them ever since. What an amazing trip! Except for that Alsatian thing.


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