WOW – That was scary. May 12 at 2:38pm we were in Terra Cotta Warrior Pit #3 near Xian when the earthquake struck. Dario, who at lunch had drunk one nasty clear liqueur with a three snakes in it and another with a seaturtle, seahorses, seastars and who knows what else, thought it was the wine. I thought it was vertigo from looking down at first, then realized something was seriously wrong. Laura thought it might have been from rubbing the Buddha’s belly that morning. In any case, we joined about 300 other screaming people in running out of the place.
The Earthquake seemed to last and last and last. They closed the structure for a while, the military arrived and inspected. Phone networks were down. And we were quite far from the epicenter. They finally reopened the pits and we were able to visit, though never far from the exits.
Xian is amazing – modern, fascinating history, kind people, excellent dumplings. I’d avoid the cobra liqueur and any rubbing of Buddha bellies though.
We got to the airport and things were, understandably, a mess. Our guide was upset as his wife had finally managed to call and their apartment was severely damaged – she was in the street too afraid to go back in.
Another group was far closer to the epicenter – in Szechuan province. They were en-route back to Chengduafter an overnight stay in a hotsprings resort hotel in Emeishan near the Giant Buddha when the earthquake occurred. Due to aftershocks the night after, the Shangri-La hotel was evacuated but the hotel used a teahouse across the street for the guests until it was safe to re-enter. All are safe and made their way home after serious delays.
Globe Bleu is very sad for what has happened and has donated to quake relief. We invite others to follow suit.