My China Journey and More
I am currently endeavouring to downsize and find new homes for some of my many books. I have quite a library of books, some about China, and they go back many years before I had any idea that one day I might live in China!
Perhaps it was my love of Chinese food that inspired my interest. Yes, I have Chinese cookbooks, too, but when I was younger, it was Chinese food that appealed to me. In my younger days, it was Chinese restaurants that were most common.
One of the books that I have, I bought in 1983, when there was an exhibition of the Terracotta Warriors. at the Queensland Arte Gallery. I recall being mesmerised by the story and the exhibits of the clay warriors. At that time it never occurred to me that one day I might actually visit the city of Xi’an, near the site of the amazing historical place.
My memory of the visit is very vague, and I remember being amazed by the story of so many of these clay warriors being undergrown and unknown until a couple of farmers found them while digging to install new water wells.
How could such a large collection be hidden for so long?
It really is a remarkable and very sad story, that so many of the men who worked on the project were killed so that they could not divulge any information about the project. The army of men underground was to protect China’s first emperor, Qin Shi Juang in the afterlife. It was well over 2000 years ago that he unified China and became emperor, and it was 1974 before its discovery.
Had I ever wanted to go to China?
I don’t recall having such an idea. And when employment was first offered to me in 2008, I refused it. I had plans to teach in Vietnam, which eventually fell through, but by then I had signed up for the amazing experience of working in the city of Shaoxing, Zhejiang province, south of Shanghai. I am known for making quick decisions, and fortunately, most of these have worked out well!
And in February 2008 I embarked on an amazing adventure to China. I was so impressed with the history of the country and the many places to visit and explore amazing places of history. I’ve lost count. While my classes were Monday to Friday, weekends were for resting or exploring and I really did most of the latter.
Each month, the college/university arranged interesting bus trips to places – usually just a day trip. We visited so many places – some were not far from Shaoxing which itself had much history. On occasions, I would go, mainly in the company of other teachers, but as I gained confidence, I would go alone.
I was in China for most of 2008 and returned in 2010 for the first semester. It was during this period that I went to Xi’an. Sadly, no one else was available to go with me, so I decided to go alone. I arranged my flight and hotel accommodation for two nights online, feeling a little stressed by doing it alone.
I arrived in Xi’an late in the afternoon and was soon on a bus into the city. One passenger was an American Chinese man who offered to assist when we arrived in the city and he tried to arrange a taxi to my hotel. No, I had to walk! By now it was dark and my instructions were vague, but I had no choice but to walk along narrow streets and make a few turns, but luckily arrived at the hotel safely and made it to my room to rest! Phew!
I had booked a tour to the Warrior place the next morning, and easily found the bus and set off. I was the only “foreigner” on the bus, which turned out to not be a problem and I spent several hours walking around the three pits, reading the English information, and taking plenty of photos.
I went into the shop and saw one of the men who found the amazing historical site while digging for a well.
The bus tour also took us to a couple of other places, including a traditional medical place where we all had an “examination” where the “doctor” diagnosed our health issues and recommended medication. They pressured me to buy some but didn’t, and the diagnosis they gave me was clearly incorrect as I didn’t get sick, as he indicated.
I did see a lot of the city in the short time I was there, including the famous pagoda and I spent time walking and on one of the golf-buggy type transport. There was so much to see, and sadly my stay was too short to see a lot. I am grateful that I managed to get there and see some of its beauty.
What is Xi’an like now?
This recent video shows how much things have changed in this wonderful city since my visit. I am sure you will enjoy it.
Have you been to see the Terracotta Warriors?