Our visit to Xi’an on National Day 2011
The first part.
October 1 2011. National Day celebration in China is a week-long holiday. Since school was out for the period, we jumped at the chance to travel. Of course, so did a large fraction of the population. Marianne and I decided to take a tour of the area of the terra-cotta warriors near Xi’an. She arranged a tour for us and we were looking forward to a great time. I’m American and never have seen anything close to the majesty of this archaeological find; Marianne hadn’t seen it either, so we were both looking forward to the trip.
We began our journey Saturday morning in Chong Ming. We walked up to the main road in town and took one of the tricycle taxis over to the long-distance bus terminal for the one hour trip to the Shanghai bus terminal. We arrived in good shape. It’s not a troublesome bus ride; the busses are comfortable, if crowded. From the bus terminal, we walked the short distance to the Metro station, where we were going to transfer to the Number One Metro train. For that to happen, we needed to catch the train on the platform above the street, for Metro runs above and below ground at different parts of town. Shanghai Metro is fairly well accessible, but some places are better designed than others. The Wen Shui Lu (okay, that’s One Shway Loo in phonetic English) Metro terminal has installed small lifts in several places—these are large closet sized elevators. The lift reminds me of an industrial strength (and square) push-up ice cream treat, or, less tastefully, a syringe or worse yet, a tube of caulk. There is no passenger compartment, but only a platform and its control panel which rises and lowers within the walled elevator shaft.
Except when it doesn’t work. When it works, it’s a little scary; when it fails, it’s more than a little scary.
Understand that the lift is reserved for people with mobility problems, so any trouble with the elevator is harder to deal with than you first think it will be. So, when we found ourselves stuck in the lift at Wen Shui Lu, halfway between floors, I thought to myself, what a great way to begin our vacation. Interesting challenge. But we’ve been in these kind of situations before and it was just another time when we put our trust in the Lord and went ahead, doing what we had to do.
That day I taught Marianne to climb a ladder. Metro personnel were on the scene quickly, with the ladder and copious vocal encouragement. She stood up, we passed the wheelchair over our heads to the waiting hands above us. Then it was her turn. As we were arranging to climb out, she says “I cannot do this!” I said “Sure you can.” Of course she could, there was no other choice. With the station crew pulling, and me pushing her up, putting her feet in the right spots on the rungs, she climbed out of the elevator well. All OK. She did just fine. Like she does this stuff every day. Angels come is all descriptions; some look like Metro workers.
A short Metro ride later we were at home in Shanghai.
That night, we saw some live entertainment at the Shanghai Cultural Square. In a production by the Shanghai Grand Theatre Arts Company, we enjoyed two hours of Broadway show tunes in the newly completed venue. It was well done, we thought. Featuring a broad complement of entertainers from the States and around the world, we were impressed with the performance.
The next morning we woke up late, attended Mass at noon and then wandered over to the Shanghai train station to begin our journey to Xi’an and the terra-cotta warriors and archers. (Xi’an is spelled with the apostrophe to show that the word has two syllables pronounced something like “She” and then “ahn”)