Yes, believe it or not, there are other things to do and see in Xi’an besides the Terra Cotta Army, and after what was already a very full day, we kept right on keeping on!
First, we made a brief stop at a Jade Factory and learned about the different types and colors and locations where jade is found in China. We watched a guy polish a small jade Buddha statue, then visited the sales room. And yes, I bought a pair of jade earrings (because I’m only coming here once and I deserve them!) and several small figurines for friends.
We arrived at the Big Wild Goose Pagoda a few minutes before 4 p.m. The North Square was jammed with people, who seemed to be waiting for something. That “something” was a fabulous multi-tiered fountain show in front of the pagoda, choreographed to an eclectic assortment of music blaring from dozens of pole speakers.
We stuck around for six or eight songs, including the National Anthem of China (if you think the Star Spangled Banner is tough, you ought to try singing along to this one!), and the William Tell Overture. (Hi-ho, Silver, Away!) How amazing that our guide did not know this was taking place today, yet we arrived “right on time” anyway?
At the Xi’an City Wall, we climbed up 75 stone steps to enjoy the view. The wall used to be for protection from invaders, and there was an inner courtyard and many watchtowers. One “could” walk around the whole thing, but it would take several hours to cover the 17-kilometer border.
Nevertheless, Don and Chris took off to walk for half an hour while Miriam, our guide and I did a lot less. Of course, I found a “happy crap” booth up there along the top of the wall and helped boost the local economy a little more. One item was a small gift for Chris, a flute-like instrument made of pottery, and she loved it.
We got back to the hotel with 45 minutes to “freshen up,” then off to “dinner and a show!”
(Did I happen to mention how full our days were?)