Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Terracotta Cyclists

Not wishing to be a killjoy, I kept my Terracotta Warrior thoughts to myself and let Alyssa do the enthusing. Anyway, of course we had to go. When I went two years ago, I was taken there as guest of Shanghai Art Museum and was slipped in through a VIP entrance. This time, as mere mortals, we had to enter via an interminably long pedestrian avenue lined with tacky souvenir shops and bad restaurants. Once through the gate we watched the 360-degree film which looked like it had been shot on 16mm in the late 70s (they seriously have to do something about this). 
And then, finally, we entered Hanger No.1 for the famous vista of 2,000-year-old statues stretching into the distance... Except that there are 'only' a few hundred, filling less than half of the enormous space. The rest are either still buried or in fragments being worked upon by white-coated conservationists. In the similarly huge Hanger No.2 they're virtually all buried, while the small Hanger No.3 just has a few warriors and horses - though these are quite impressive. For me, the whole thing remains somewhat disappointing.
Much better was the 2-hour cycle ride round Xi'an's city walls. Naomi and I chose a tandem, possibly the first time I've ever ridden one.

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