May 9th: A visit to the Emperor Quin Shi Huang’s Mausoleum Site Museum and Xian city wall.

By: Jyotsna, Kulwinder, and Simarpal

The customary roll call before the start of the tour bus reveals a person missing. Could that be the result of a hundred RMB bottle service the previous night? With the rest of the crowd too feeling just about Mama Huhu (so-so) we set out for another adventure, another fun-filled day.

After a few minor traffic hitches, we arrived at the Mausoleum site. On our descent at the mausoleum site, Prof. Collingwood became an unwitting target of age based –profiling. A harried vendor darted off towards him offering a wheelchair ride to the site. Little did he know that Prof. Collingwood is an avid jogger and a fitness maven. I guess we all needed a good laugh to shake off the dreariness of an hour-long ride.

According to the little history lesson provided by our tour guide Jane, the Warrior emperor Ying Zheng order construction of 8000 terracota warriors complete with horses and other military equipment to follow him in the afterlife.

We line up as Jane jostles towards the ticket counter and buys tickets for the entire group.

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After spending about 2 hours at the site, the group makes head towards the gift shop where a demure Mr. Yang Zhifa, the farmer that discovered the mausoleum site sits and signs autographs for tourists. Apparently, sometimes he hangs a sign saying no photographs as the flash bothers him. After spending a good 45 minutes at the museum gift shop, Prof. Myers and Prof. Collingwood round up all the students and we start for the local restaurant to have lunch.

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After a scrumptious meal we step into the lobby that the hotel has leased out to various vendors. Each one of them was eager to catch our attention and sell their wares. After some initial apprehension, we gave in and put our newly acquired bargaining skills to test yet again. Some of us passed the test with shining colors i.e. scored some brilliant deals. But then did we score a deal on a genuine article? With lingering doubts we boarded the bus and headed back to see the City walls and much-awaited bike ride.

After another hour-long ride we arrive at the City wall entrance raring to go try out the bike ride on the city wall. Unfortunately, the weather refused to cooperate. And it started to rain. A few decided to take the tuk-tuk back to the hotel. The rest of the group stayed defiant and insisted on the riding the bikes despite the rain. The ones that took the tuk tuk, reached the hotel and thanked the heavens for being still alive.

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Soon after the rest of our group that stayed back at the wall joined us. Apparently, rain can be braved but not the dust storm. The bike ride was called-off and they had to return disappointed.

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