X'ian, a former capital of China under the first emperor, is now perhaps best known as the home of the Terra Cotta warriors, discovered in the 1970s by farmers digging a well. The area has a population of 8 million, half of which live in the city. The pace appears leisurely, with very little traffic or pedestrian congestion (at least where we travelled). This ambiance was in marked contrast to Beijing and Nanjing...true metropolilses.

The Xi'an Garden Hotel was our home for 4 days - our longest stay of the trip. Did you ever see a chef make an omelette using chopsticks instead of a spatula? Do you want to take early morning tai chi classes with a master? Do you want to hear a guest tinkle the ivories? Do you want to participate with the locals doing their version of line dancing? Come to Xi'an.

The Terra Cotta warriors were one of the highlights of Xi'an (along with our participation in some line dancing), but we also saw the Sanshi Museum, a jade factory and a clay/pottery/furniture workshop which made replicas of the terra cotta warriors and inlaid and lacquered furniture.  We had wonderful dumpling and hot pot banquets, and were enchanted by the water fountain display at the pagoda next to our hotel. Our personal highlight was the Tang Dynasty Performance show (not for the show, but for the fact that it was our 39th anniversary, and Yulan and Terrianne had arranged for a very public surpirise celebration, including a cake and a huge sword cake cutter).

Photo credits: Jay Rosenthal
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The tourists join the natives
Look what candy can do!!
Tai chi with a duck and obvious
varying levels of skill
The table set for a dumpling dinner
Some of the 16 dumplings
The stage is set for Xi'an's version
of "American Idol"
The terra cotta warriors in pit 1
Yulan and Max
Max and Jay
The warriors as unearthed
A bus for the Max group?
Jay does play it again, Sam, in Xi'an
The hot pot dinner
The raw food before WE cooked it
Max and Jay's surprise 39th
anniversary cake and presentation
That's the largest cake-cutting
knife I've ever seen!!
The walled city of Xi'an...
...and where some cannonballs hit the wall
Go fly a kite on the wall
Biking on the wall
Watching the water fountain display
With the fountain in the background
Similar pic, Terrianne and jim
Decorative painting
Applyinging decorative components
Finishing work
Kilns for replica terra cotta warriers
Shibori silk dying demonstration
Pick your colors...
...untie, and hang to dry
Weaving a slik rug
A herd of goats and a pooper scooper
Again, the tourists and the natives
mingle for a line dance