Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Sneaking into a UNESCO World Heritage Site

This is the terracotta warriors in Xi'an. They are 2000 years old and located 1.5 km from the Mausoleum of Emperor Qin Shi Huang. The warriors were discovered by some local farmers in 1974 digging for a well. The site consists of three pits covering 16,000 square meters, 25 meters deep and totaling about 7,000 soldiers, a bunch of terracotta horses, and also chariots which disintegrated because they were made of wood. Most of the site has yet to be completely excavated, and piecing all the soldiers takes and incredible amount of painstaking work. Each of the pits are enclosed in a columnless pavilion, with the first and second pits being the largest, about the size of a small college basketball arena. The complex itself is very sterile looking, it looks like a community college built in the 80's. The site was first opened to the public in 1979, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Admission is 65 yuan during the low season, and 90 yuan (about $11.25 USD) during the high season such as now.
When I arrived this morning, I only had 76 yuan on me. Mind you, it's a dirty, dusty one hour bus trip from the city of Xi'an. Crap, what am I to do. To the right is the ticket booth where I found out the bad news (if it were low season, I could buy admission, and still afford the bus ride home).
I started thinking, do I beg the next English speaker I see. No, that would require looking pitiful.
Do I try to sneak in with one of the tour busses. No they probably wouldn't let me on.
Do I try to sneak in with one of the military? I did just get my haircut short, but was not in military fatigues.
Do I call it quits, and just had back???
No way, never. That's not the Global Transmission way.

So Plan B. To the far left, I noticed people with press passes walk in through a side gate. It looked like no one even checked their ID or ticket. Right next to this gate is a bag check. I decided to drop off my bag and get a ticket. They must have assumed that I already had a ticket because I walked right past this guy sitting on a chair right on in. Nobody said anything. I was shocked it was that easy. I took in all of the terracotta warriors, and left with money in my pocket.

Now in no way, do I condone crime, or stealing or line hopping or cutting backsies or frontsies, or even jaywalking for that matter. These were dire situations, and there was no way I was going to go back home, and then back out there again the next day. I would like to think of it as maybe being resourceful, adjusting my environment to changing conditions, maybe thinking one step ahead of the competition, not panicking but letting the game come to me, or maybe everyone else that went in and paid were a bunch of suckers (the site is pretty impressive, but maybe 45 yuan impressive).

Either way, if you're heading out here, this course of action might work for you as well. Now hopefully, Chinese authorities don't get wind of this until I've crossed the Laos border. They're already on the trail of the trailer preview of, Dónde está Ché Pelotas?


At 8:50 AM, Blogger Teny said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 8:53 AM, Blogger Teny said...

Cool shot; even cooler story. Where can 1 get a Che Pelotas t-shirt?

At 12:48 AM, Blogger ::rentastic:: said...

gonna have to wait. shirts not available at least until the movie comes out.

Dónde está Che Pelotas?
Thanksgiving 2006


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