Our morning started with a visit to the eighth wonder of the world…the Terra Cotta Army. The 2200 year old life-size terra-cotta figures of warriors, horses and chariots were found buried east of Emperor Qinshihuang’s tomb in Xi’an.
There are three buildings, they look like huge warehouses and in each are the figures which are still being re-assembled today. They took a satellite picture from space to see where the figures were buried to help uncover them as carefully as possible (there are still about 6000 more underground). The very first piece was founded by a farmer who was digging a well on his property and suddenly dug into a few pieces of the terra-cotta figures. We asked if the farmer was paid a large sum for being the first to uncover it, but were told no…the Chinese government did not pay him, but allowed him to not have to work anymore.
As we walked through the first and largest warehouse…we immediately saw below in the pit, thousands of soldiers all standing in formation…each one was different, no two soldiers were alike. They looked as if they were about to march into battle with their uniforms on, drums in hand and some on horses. Our guide explained these soldiers were built by hand by the people being ruled under Emperor Qinshihuang. It took 720,000 people to build this army and over 37 years. The army was a replica of the emperor’s kingdom and was made to protect him in the afterlife. He had them built and placed east of where he was having his tomb built so that in the afterlife, the soldiers would fly towards his tomb, pick him up and fly with him protecting him during the day.
We took our time and many pictures admiring the detail that had been placed in their creation. In the back of the first warehouse, we could see the area where archeologists are still digging and putting together the pieces they find. Not only was this 2200 years ago when these were made, but at some point the underground army was found and destroyed…the figures were knocked over, broken and set on fire. Putting the puzzle back together is very challenging and a slow process.
The second and third warehouses right next door to the first one were also big pits full of figures. They seemed to be grouped together the way military would be, warehouse one held the soldiers, warehouse two held the infantry/Calvary and warehouse three held high-ranking officers and a war chariot. Both the second and third were much further behind in having full figures put together, but it was interesting to actually see the dirt with recognizable pieces sticking out…like a arm or head still needing to be carefully uncovered. Once they have all the pieces, then they can begin to put them back together.
After looking at all the terra-cotta warriors, we went to lunch…yes, it was another touristy lunch, however they had two men making hand pulled noodles from scratch which was fun to watch and good to eat (see the video below).
In the evening we strolled around Moslem Street which is actually a large area full of street food vendors, local trinkets, and great people watching. We had fun getting lost amongst the chaos, sounds and smells of the tiny streets. We wanted to order some food but were told it wasn’t such a great idea, many of the vendors use old rotting meat and season it well…although the locals can handle it…tourists do get sick. The only thing we ended up buying was a wheel of pressed tea. The cost was cheap and it looked authentic and aged. When we met back up with our guide. He took one look at it and said it is very cheap old tea…not the good stuff – oops.
We got back to our hotel to unwind and eat Chinese take-out before bed .
Published by Brandey Kabat
What I like: Dark chocolate, yoga, fresh squeezed juice, laughing, hiking, wine, travel, food, lush products, being warm, having long hair, the ritual of drinking something hot first thing in the morning…
What I don’t like: When people smell their fingers, pushing elevator buttons, confrontational situations, not being able to fall asleep quickly at bedtime…
Most random job ever: Plastic surgery consultant
As for my love life: I met my husband mid way through my junior year in college, as soon as I laid my eyes on him I was attracted to him. In fact, I made the first move which was a bit out of character but there was something about him…probably the fact that he was smokin’ hot!!
Where from and where to: I grew up in NY, went to college at The Ohio State University and then headed to CA after graduation. My boyfriend (Giff) and I had a map, a borrowed van and used stuff from his mom’s basement aka a vacuum, silverware, old Christmas ornaments etc., and about $1000 each. We thought it would be a good idea to head straight to CA since neither of us had been. Being we didn’t know anyone there nor did we have a job or job interviews set up or a place to live…I would say we did it the hard way! However with a bit of help from Giff’s mom who flew out to put us up in a hotel, bought me a suit for interviewing and co-signed a lease to get us a place to live we eventually found jobs and an apartment and have been in CA for 10 years.
Our story: After moving out to CA and living together for about 3 years we got engaged. He popped the question while down on one knee on the beach at sunset after we finished our picnic he had packed of bread, cheese, shrimp cocktail and wine. He even had the ring in a box that had a light shining down on it when opened so as it was getting dark, this amazing man was asking me to be his wife as he handed me a huge rock…Yes! Yes! Yes!
In 2005 we were married (I am biased but our wedding was absolutely amazing). By the end of 2005 we were new home owners. 2006-2009- we were both happily married, attached to our 3 cats and were focused on building our careers.
Giff and I got pregnant mid year 2009 with our first baby but what should have been one of the highlights of our life was soon distracted by the news I received at the doctor’s office.
The lump in my breast that had been dismissed the year before as nothing was now being diagnosed by a different doctor as breast cancer. Thankfully Giff is a persistent person and when we went in for our ultrasound (to hear our baby’s heartbeat) he brought up the request for testing to be done on the lump rather than dismissing it based on feeling it.
The going gets rough: Things began to move so quickly at that point, it was hard to breathe. I was 30, pregnant with my first child and going into surgery to remove breast cancer. I was about to go through what would be the worst year of my life. The plan had been discussed, we were going with the most aggressive regimen possible- double mastectomy, port surgically placed in my chest, chemotherapy, drug therapy and radiation. We also had to terminate the pregnancy. This cancer was estrogen positive and the hormones were actually feeding the cancer. That little angel whom was the cause of our going into the doctor saved my life.
Giff was my rock through every step…interviewing a team of the best doctors, memorizing which medicines I needed to take and when, driving me to chemotherapy and sitting next to me while I was so scared, telling me I was beautiful when I was bald, and so many other things…words cannot express. When you say your vows, in sickness and in health…you would never guess sickness of this magnitude at this age would be in the near future. In addition to this hardship, Giff’s dad died of a complicated prostate cancer the day we came home from my surgery. I could not hold my husband as he mourned for his dad because of the pain I was in from the mastectomy. How did Giff handle all of this pain at one time? How was he so strong for me? He is amazing. Giff’s dad was one of those people whom you naturally wanted to be around…his smile was contagious, his love for life was invigorating and he listened so intently when you talked in a conversation with him. He made you feel special. We think about him often and will miss him so much.
My family and friends were also by my side…my mom flying out from NY several times to help us with cooking and cleaning and holding my hand. It must be one of the most awful things in the world to watch your baby girl be diagnosed with breast cancer. My girlfriends also flew out to take care of me and help with anything they could. Other friends living closer would come by just to sit and talk or watch movies. There were so many cards, letters, flowers, cookies, and other gifts that came from all over the country. It’s amazing to have such great people in my life. In addition to my amazing circle of friends and family, there were the strangers with whom crossed our path. Whether it was a letter in the mail from a breast cancer survivor, the anesthesiologist who called Giff during my surgery crying happy tears that the cancer had not spread to my lymph nodes, or our fertility doctor who promised to watch over our frozen embryos as if they were her own. There were so many small gestures that made such a big impact on our lives.
Looking at the bright side: Thankfully this was caught in stage 1, had it been caught a year prior by the first doctor I had gone into about the lump, it may have been caught at stage 0. Please learn from my lesson…insist the lump be tested – a lump cannot be diagnosed by touch. They were able to cut all the cancer out and after I finish the entire regimen including a pill I take over the next 5 years, they said there is a 95% chance the cancer will never come back.
Our exciting future: We’ve decided to re-prioritize, we are taking 400 days starting February 7th of 2011 to travel the world! We will travel to new places, eat new foods, taste new wines and meet new people. We will focus on healing ourselves both physically and mentally. This will be one of the best years of our lives.
View all posts by Brandey Kabat