Temples, Caves and One or Two Warriors

Thursday, March 20, 2014
Xi'an, Shaanxi, China
A good indication of the enjoyment of a day is the number of photographs taken, today we took 270 which will overjoy our children as they will be shown everyone on our return!

The day started in a Taoist Temple on the outskirts of the city . It was the religion of the Chinese 2000 years ago and is still practiced today. The ancient medicines and writing was all created by Taoist "wise men". The followers don't cut their hair but keep in in a bun on the top of their heads which can be seen on all the Terracotta Warrior statutes. All the other religions practised in China were introduced by travellers along the Silk Road. The temple, or at least it's rites, were interesting. Unfortunately the original building was destroyed during the Cultural Revolution so todays buildings are copies. Outside the temple were stalls and shops displaying piles of photocopied bank notes. Taoists believe that when you are cremated you should be burnt with the things you will need in the afterlife so the shops sell money, cardboard mobile phones, cardboard cars which you put on the funeral pyre. When you reach the afterlife beware of any Chinese offering you a 100 Yuan note it is probably a fake.

Next stop was to meet a farmer who you lives in a cave! Improbably as it may sound 30 million Chinese live in caves, this chap inherited it from his parents who in turn took it over from theirs .
The cave is dry, cool in summer and cool in winter, if you don't mind living at 2C all year round it has a lot to be said for it. There was a wooden front to the cave with a door, the cooking range was outside in a sort of lean too shelter, everything else was inside (we didn't discuss toilets, I presume there were public ones in the village). The bed platform was built above boxes where hot coals were put to act as a bed warmer, forerunner to electric blankets possibly.

The sad thing, although neither the guide nor the man himself seemed bothered, was that after many generations of living there in some peace the cave was now surrounded by new buildings.

After that we went and saw some warriors, you will have heard about these from other quarters. As expected they were great; anyone who shows an interest we will bore to tears with 270 pictures.
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