When I left the job back in August, one of the best feelings was the sense that I wouldn’t have any more deadlines – no due dates, no by-when’s, not even kids’ practices to get to. But the truth is that taking on the blog has again given me a taste of the same pressure. Our internet was hit-and-miss at best in China, and we are behind in our posts, so there are only two choices – quit (not something I want to make into a habit) or get caught up. As it turns out, Vietnam has better internet than China and Oxford, MS combined. So here we go…
“Hello, scuse me, ladies gentlemen! The Tercotta Waryers are very special this arees. Very. Special. This arees. Uhnm (with a head nod, like yeah). We go ferst to site 3. Site 3. OK? Then site 2. Then site 1… Site 1 at the end. Very special. Understand? Uhnm (with another head nod, like you better understand).”
A bucket list item for many, the Terracotta Warriors of Xi’an were our target for day 55. The 5 Laffs and Marcy hopped on the bus for another crazy ride to the get there, but we were in for an unexpected treat when our tour guide took the microphone. She was a little ball of fire. Act like you were having trouble understanding or furrow your eyebrows a bit, and you felt like she was gonna say, “what, you don’t speak English?” She told it straight, and when she hit the ground it was all we could do to keep her in sight, as she was as energetic with her feet as she was with the mic.
“You see archer? Very faermous. Very special. Uhnm (don’t forget the head nod). He has big mustache. Very handsome. And big belly. Big Belly (with half-closed, sultry eyes). Very handsome (still half-closed). Uhnm.”
Turns out that big bellies and mustaches were a hit in China in the Qin Dynasty. With the way she said it, I am pretty sure they are still a hit now – at least for our guide. We learned some amazing things through our guide (better act like you learned or you would get that look) – like the quickest way to judge rank in around 200 BC China is to check out a guy’s shoes. Flat means you’re a rookie, and the more your toes are curled upward, the higher you are on the charts. We also learned that each face was unique, but it was not of an actual soldier. One artist sculpted the face of another. This army for the afterlife was built in secret, so after a pair of sculptors completed each other’s likeness, they were both killed to ensure that the secret remained intact. So we spent our day in awe of the size (life-sized men and horses), detail (every one was a completely accurate sculpture from all sides), number (nearly 8,000 so far), shoes and bellies of the Terracotta Army. – ALaff