China: Terracotta Warriors
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Lesson: Emperor's Tomb at Xi'an

Setting the scene:

      The family arrives in Xi'an, where a pretty university student named Alisa meets them. She is a cousin of Mei, who (together with Mister Ching) in earlier stories took the family to the Forbidden City and the Great Wall of China.

People in This Story:
  • Alisa (university student); Dad; Mom; Mel; Wes
  • Brand Name or Company Name item is in green.
  • Slang terms are linked to the Slang Dictionary. Click on the term to view its meaning.
  • "Speed Talk" is in pink; meaning is in [brackets].


    Dad:       That young girl probably is Mei's cousin. Her name is Alisa. Let's be nice to her, especially since she'd normally be studying instead of taking us around.

    Wes:       She's a real dish! Hello Alisa, What's up?

    Alisa:       Oh, hello there. Glad to see you could make it. Are you up on this place? Xi'an earlier was called Chang'an. It was the capital of Qin Empire. Emperor Qin Shi Huang first united China and probably started to build the tomb in 246 B.C. It took 37 years and he was buried soon after biting the dust.

    Mel:       Hey, Alisa. You seem to know some American slang. Where'd you learn it?

    Alisa:       At a university here in Xi'an. I decided to study English because I find it quite interesting. Also, I hope it will aid me in getting a good job.

    Wes:       Nothing wrong with getting a leg up.

    Dad:       Exactly right! Which is why companies request my services--to help their employees get state of the art computer information.

    Alisa:      Oh, is that why you come to China? You teach technical matters?

    Wes:       Better believe it. Dad can help smart people ramp up or teach those who don't know squat about computers.

    Dad:       I just try to get people up to speed. Too much competition can cause a strain on people.

    Mom:       That's enough about work and computers. Are those the warriors, Alisa?

    Alisa:      Yes. We can see many soldiers in this large pit.

    Mel:       This place is massive! What exactly is terracotta and how many of those dudes are there?

    Mom:       I can answer that. Terracotta often is a glazed clay that is fired in a hot oven. I checked Wikipedia and learned there are over 7,500 figures in the tomb.

    Alisa:      Very good! You've got it. Yang Quangyi was one of the people who first discovered the emperor's tomb and these terracotta warriors. He is here today, signing books about the tomb. Would you like to meet him?

    Dad:       Yes, I would like that very much. I also want to purchase a book. [Alisa introduces Dad to Yang Quangyi and takes their picture. Both speak in Mandarin because Dad speaks Chinese.]

    Mel:       Before we leave, I can take a picture of Dad standing beside that living statue. It'll make a nice gag picture for friends back home.

    Wes:       I have to admit this was an eye-opener. Glad we came here. Thanks for the brief history lesson, Alisa.

    Alisa:     It was my pleasure, Wes. Next, I want to show you more of Xi'an. The city Belltower is famous and is near one of the world's largest water fountain night shows. I think we should enjoy seeing it together.

    Dad:       That's a spendid idea, Alisa. I'll enjoy it immensely. Best to get some dinner first, though. Wes, do you feel like chowing down?

    Wes:       Grub always sounds good to me.

    Mom:       I want to take a shower before we eat. If I don't, I'll be too played out to enjoy the fountain show.

    Alisa:     Of course, we can return to your hotel first. I will treat you to a nice Chinese meal tonight.

    Mom:       That is kind of you, but we should pay for you. After all, we imposed on your time today.

    Wes:       That's right. We're not out for a free feed.

    Alisa:     Forget it, please. It was an opportunity to know you and to practice my English. I hope we can meet again.

    Dad:       We probably will return again someday, Alisa. China is a wonderful land with a rich history, and the people are very cultured. Thank you for the friendship.

    [The family departs China and travels to Hawaii, where Dad again teaches computer courses to company employees. Click here to see the following story: Waikiki and Oahu.]

  • © Page Publisher: Duane R. Hurst