Sunday, October 22, 2006

Weekend in Xi'an

Spent this past weekend in Xi'an checking out the Terracotta Warriors and the various other sites of Xi'an, the ancient capital of China. China is making a LOT of investments on tourism in preparation for the Beijing '08 Olympics. Almost everything in Xi'an was either ancient (City Walls, Bell Tower, etc.) or brand-spanking new (airport). The best example of this contrast was the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, a Buddhist temple originally built in 652. Just outside of the Big Wild Goose Pagoda is a modern shopping mall with Vegas-style fountains which looks to have been built in the last 2 years or so. Outside of the Terracotta Warriors complex is another shopping mall of over 500 storefronts which is scheduled to be opened next year. I haven't been to Beijing since early 2003 and the infamous "Ritchie Oriol Peking Duck" incident but I can only image what sort of construction is going on there.

Viewing the Terracotta Warriors and learning more about Emperor Qin got me thinking about timeframe and big projects. It took Emperor Qin 9 years to unify China. In doing so, he unified the writing system, units of measure, and rule of law among other things. That's pretty fast, if you ask me. Think back to 1997. How much have you accomplished in 9 years?

Good to hear Xi'an has a new airport. I almost died there in 2000 when our aircraft got squirlly on the old runway. Not cool. I liked Xi'an the city-the way the walls light up and everythin-but sounds like it has gone through some not so friendly changes.
Finally, I think the whole Terracotta Soldiers site is a farce propogated by the Chinese government. I am not buying it (although I did pay to take the tour of the site but it included a cheesy surround sound/video story of the Terracotta story).
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