Extraordinary! And to think I wasn't too inspired by seeing a load of clay men in a pit.
13 years old was young Qin Shi Huang when he became the king and began planning this army to protect him in his afterlife. At 39, he decided to be the first emperor of China (he actually invented the word!) after, it seems, fighting and winning a load of wars across the independent China states that created today's country as we know it (I've possibly simplified the text book!)
He also hoped to find the elixir of life but was sadly misinformed, regularly eating toxic herbs and that well-known miracle youth enhancer, mercury! I imagined a self-created Dali-esque statue on his death! He made it to 49, maybe not bad for BC times and eating mercury?!
I can't help but think a little paranoia had set in or, given his teenage years, that he was playing out a secondary school Indiana Jones adventure story when creating these thousands of life-sized people, horses, real weapons and carriages.
He had quite an imagination it seems, also being the guy to bring together multiple sections of protective walls into one Great Wall of China.
Interesting too that a form of chrome plating was discovered on the weapons of the army which had very little rust. The modern day version was not invented until the 1800s.
We've missed out the Wild Goose Pagoda as I wasn't feeling on form, we were both hungry and we can get a little pagoda'd out! It was still a full half day which was the intention to have a chill and explore anyway.
We wandered until we found food and luckily, happened on an amazing restaurant. In the middle of the table was a hot plate and a wide metal pan about 10cm deep with a clear lid. We played it safe ordering a vegetable dish and steamed rice (via photos and text translate), avoiding pigs' feet, ducks' tongues and toads. We weren't quite sure what would happen next but they brought out two pots of freshly prepared vegetables, putting the chunkier ones in the bottom of the pan first, closed the lid and turned up the heat. It bubbled and smelled fantastic as it cooked and she came back a few sets of timed minutes later to add sauce, spices and fresh herbs. When the rice arrived, the pot got a good stir and we tucked in. There were some root vegetables we didn't recognise - one's slices looked like a white wooden carriage wheel (with holes) - but the whole lot tasted amazing. We've since learned it's a style we were recommended to try, a hot pot, and the vegetable is the lotus root.
While Rich is off to explore, I'm now chilling with the Chinese equivalent of The Metro. I've found it entertaining each time I pick up a new one with its slightly leading article conclusions...
Deaths in a care centre concluded with 'That the Ministry of Civil Affairs launched nationwide inspections of similar institutions is a positive move...'
On food related crimes, 'the latest move by the Ministry of Public Security not only goes some way to meeting public expectations but also manifests the government's further determination to protect people...'
'Save a dog/shark, eat a Chinese' t-shirt slogan in Germany outrage, ends with a pointed reflection on Chinese/German trade volumes (including now being the largest partner of Germany) saying, 'Given these facts, the Germans cannot overlook the t-shirt incident; instead it must take immediate action against the company and address Chinese people's feelings.' Earlier in the article it makes links to Adolf Hitler, Bin Laden and the Berlin Christmas attack.