China (2)
There were enough tourists and vendors available to repel any Mongol horde that might try to scale the wall. All of this has been rebuilt many, many times. There is no original wall remaining.

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After the visit to the wall and some Ming era tombs it was back to Beijing and a chance to tour a “houtong.” This was a pedal rickshaw ride with visits to a kindergarten and a private home. While the home is advertised as typical, I suspect that it was upper middle class at least.

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There was a vendor selling hot roasted yams from his tricycle mounted grill. Carlos bought two yams for 10 yuan (about 14 cents.)

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The school was wonderful, it was a private school that emphasized music as well as having time for play.

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The kids were learning their songs in English. This would give them a head start since the regular schools only start English in the third grade. Nine years of school is the legal minimum in China.

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Some kids are just out for a stroll.

The home that we visited was about a hundred years old and tiny, by our standards.. They did install a modern toilet about ten years ago and they have gas for cooking and heat. You can tell that they are fairly well off because of the dog. A dog license in Beijing can cost six months average wage. The man of the house is retired and spends much of his time raising racing pigeons.

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In Xian, we made a short stop at the “Little Wild Goose Pagoda.”

While the “Big Wild Goose Pagoda” is better known, this one was available and would allow us more time at the Museum of the Terra Cotta Warriors.

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The size of the Terra Cotta Army is staggering. There are about eight thousand soldiers discovered in the three excavations made so far. The soldier to the right is a kneeling archer.

These are only the guards for the main tomb which has not yet been opened.


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At least the mothers wanted their pictures taken.

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This is the largest and most spectacular of the three excavations.

The other sites have contained bronze chariots and terra cotta administrators.

All of the sites were sacked not long after they were built. All of the figures were smashed and the wooden roof was burned. It has been suggested that the looters were after the weapons.

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