Over the course of three days, I lectured at three different universities in Xi’an, all relatively close and accessible to the city center. Many of the Chinese faculty have opportunities to further their professional experience as visiting scholars at foreign universities and we often swap stories of different places they have been. Xian Shiyou University specializes in petroleum related programs. At Northwest University, I gave 2 lectures plus a Q&A session with an engaging group of students. They liked the primer on how to give good powerpoint presentations and we discussed the application process to U.S. graduate schools. Chang’an University is conveniently located right across the road from the Shaanxi History Museum, which limits visitors to only 4,000 per day. On our tour of the museum, a local guide told us the background innovation stories behind some of the artifacts. That was fascinating.
The city of Xi’an has many interesting sights, but one highlight was an evening bike ride on top of the 14 m-wide, fortified inner ancient city wall built during the 14th century Ming dynasty.
Another highlight was our visit to the Tomb of Han Emperor Jingdi (Han Yangling). An underground museum path with some glass floors led us through and over this ancient burial site where they have excavated “small warriors”, pottery animals, and many artifacts. These are reminiscent of the Terra Cotta warriors, but are scaled down (much like large dolls ~ 30 cm high), and are not as detailed. However, it is still an amazing glimpse of the culture preserved in a royal mausoleum that is much less crowded with visitors.