Clay Soldiers and Cacoons!
Today was a busy day of touring. We started the morning off with a one hour drive to see the famous Terracotta Warriors Museum. It was discovered in 1974 by three farmers digging a well. It is 3 pits of terracotta warriors and horses all built to guard the tomb of Emperor Qin Shi Huang. It covers a total area of over 20,000 meters and includes almost 8,000 warriors and horses and 100 chariots. It is known as the Eighth Wonder of the World and has been visited by more than 50 million people including 100 heads of different countries. Each piece is being refurbished because they were all broken by rebel soldiers who discovered them and stole the weapons that were buried there with the soldiers. There all also reproduction pieces made here in Xian and sold all over China. Each piece is hand made using molds and then baked in a kiln. I'm including a few pictures of the workers who are making larger pieces as well as a picture of the kiln. The pictures really don't do it justice. I guess it is one of those things that you have to see to appreciate.
While visiting the Terracotta Warriors today we ran into a tour group from the USA. They were here with their Chinese daughters that they adopted 9 years ago. They were so sweet and after admiring the children they wished us much happiness and were off to finish the tour.
We then visited a silk factory. We watched workers pulling silk threads from cacoons and placing them on reels where the silk is spun off the cacoon. We also watched workers manually removing the boiled cacoons off the silk worms and then stretch the silk over a wooden stand. The stretched silk is then dried and later stretched by four workers to use inside silk quilts. These quilts are then covered with a duvet cover for use.
Afterwards we had lunch at a local Chinese restaurant. We didn't order our food but instead was served a variety of dishes on a lazy Susan that all the families shared. Each dish was a mystery except for one. We all recognized the fish with the head still attached (see photo) and needless to say, it was left untouched.
On our way back to the hotel we bought pomegranate fruit which is the local crop here. It was strange to see the farmers selling their fruit along the side of the interstate from baskets but even stranger to see how some of them balance heavy baskets of the fruit from the sides of their bikes to take it to the market. Sorry Brooke and Baker, I would offer to bring you some but we are not allowed to take it out of the country.
Local life here in China is hard for many people. We take so much for granted but here in China we are reminded of how good we really have it in the USA. We've seen folks riding their bikes to work in the cold rain, severely handicapped people begging for money because there is no social security disability to support them and living conditions for most are well below what would be considered poverty in America. I'm including some of the everyday sights from around Xian in my pictures today. I hope it will give you a glimpse of what Brea's life might have been like if she had grown up here in China.
I'm also including some photos of the families we are traveling with and the children they are adopting. I hope you enjoy them.
Brea is doing very well! We think she gets prettier by the day!!! She is sitting up on her own now without any support and is sleeping through the night. She said "Dada" today and is starting to imitate sounds that we make. She is now letting me hold the bottle for her. At dinner the chef came out and spoke to her. Later as he was walking through the dining room he spoke to her again but this time tried to play with her. She looked frightened so I put my hand on the high chair tray to let her know that I was right there and she tried to climb up my arm. She started to cry and as soon as he was gone she was just fine. She is also crying when I leave the room and looks for Danny if he walks out. These are all good signs that she is bonding with us. Each day is full of surprises with Brea. She reveals a little more of her personality to us each day and is learning new things with each passing moment. She continues to bloom and we couldn't be happier about the progress she is making!
Good night from rainy Xian!