Day 44: Warrior woman wandering the Terracotta Warriors (Sunday 11 December)
December 14, 2011 1 Comment
I had no pain for most of the day since waking up for a short time in the wee hours. That was nice. I got up just before the buffet closed and had some sustenance then promptly retired back to the warm bed. When I finally got up for good I felt reasonable so figured today was the day to try and play tourist and head to the Terracotta Warriors.
Mainly I went to the TW because it seemed silly that I would’ve lived here for two months and not taken the short cab ride to one of the world’s most famous archaeological discoveries. That, and I thought Mum and Brad should see TWs and I knew they wouldn’t leave me in the hotel and go without me. When we got back they both said they weren’t really that keen on going but they went because they thought each of the rest of us wanted to go. Anyhoo – we’ve all been now so let’s tick that box and move on.
We had a pretty damn lazy day so we didn’t make it out of the hotel til nearly 3pm. Our first challenge was to get a cab to agree to take us there. It’s only a 30-40 minute drive but that seemed to be off-putting for most drivers. It may have been near to change-over time and we know how that works in every city in the world! But by paying over the odds we found a nice, non-smoking driver with a warm cab who would take us, wait, and bring us back. Excellent.
By the time we arrived at the TW it was cooling down quickly. Actually, it was bloody cold. No, it started off bloody cold then it became bloody freezing.
We got to the ticket gate and as you might expect at any famous tourist destination, were harassed by guides helpfully offering their services. We declined. Then we declined more strongly. We bought the tickets and naively assumed that the entrance located 10m away from where the tickets were being sold would be the place to enter the facility. No, no, no. That was the entrance for people who were taking the buggies. We apparently had walking tickets (no other kind were offered) so we had to walk 500m to the other entrance. The other entrance wasn’t really the other entrance either. It was the start of a winding 1km walkway of food and trinket vendors of course! Only after you had the chance to buy useless bits and bobs, some made in China and some not, did you reach the actual entrance to the TW pavilions. At this point you could easily see the buggy entrance that we weren’t allowed to use.
All this was quite a hike for me. I was freezing and exhausted. Ordinarily it would have been a nice stroll and I probably would have come away with some gifts and maybe some jewellery I would have worn once or twice. But given how immobile I have been, plus the fact my HB is on the down-and-out again it was not fun.
We made our way through the real entrance and then walked another who-knows-how-many metres to get to the TW pavilions (big sheds that cover the TW themselves).
I went into the main pavilion, had a look (yep, statues of warriors – made from terracotta – check) and found a seat to park myself on. Then I sent Mum and Brad off to go and see the rest of the sights and soak in everything that the TWs had to offer. I was out of breath, freezing cold and my lower back was aching on the right side.
Mum came back with a hot green tea for me which was a total lifesaver. It warmed my hands and my body and I’m sure it gave me the energy (physical or mental, I’m not sure) to carry myself out of there back to the cab when we were done.
On the walk out Brad couldn’t help but treat himself to the Magnum icecream that we’d noticed in one of the freezers at a stall on the way in. Mind you, given the weather I’m not sure if the freezer was actually turned on – it probably didn’t need to be. Brad’s been hankering for a Magnum since we’ve been here and was terribly disappointed a couple of weeks back when he specifically went to a supermarket to buy himself an icecream only to find that the icecream cabinet was locked and no one had the key to open it and sell him one. Today he made up for it. He bought two Magnums and one Drumstick and was as happy as a kid in a candy store for the rest of the walk back to the cab, and possibly even for a little longer than that!
If you find yourself in Xian, definitely go to see the Terracotta Warriors. If you don’t find yourself in Xian, it would be hard for me to recommend that you make a special trip for the purpose. There’s some really good pictures on the internet…
When we got back to the hotel I still wasn’t really warm and was starting to shiver. I know that sign – fever coming on. Not a cold, not a flu – just a fever. I went to Mum’s room so she could run me a hot bath because the hot water in our room has been highly erratic and usually takes half an hour to warm up at all. Then Murphy came for a visit. Mum’s steady flow of hot water disappeared and the water was brown. We got the staff involved and got the taps running to try and get the water through the pipes (which is the only thing that works in our room) and after a significant wait the water did heat up and I got my bath. While I was waiting I was piled high with jackets and robes trying to stay warm, all the while shivering and hoping beyond hope that we could get some hot water.
I had my hot bath but it was not a panacea to my impending fever. During the night I heated up to just under 39 degrees. I only medicated with Panadol and the temperature went up and down all night. I figured there was no point going to the hospital and that if it continued they could give me something else when I arrived the next morning. It wasn’t a pleasant night.