US Tourist Attracted to Chinese Civilization

Svana Agustsson, a 50-year-old jeweler from the United States, is always lagging behind her companions during her visit to the capital of northwest China's Shaanxi Province.

Svana, who temporarily lost contact with her friends while visiting Shaanxi Museum of History, complained about the carelessness of her companions.

"I couldn't find a trace of them after I left the exhibition hall," She said in Xi'an.

"There have been several young people offering in English to help me", said she, adding, "Their warmhearted and friendly attitude touched me a lot." She added.

According to the touring party program, Svana was to go with her companions to eat local refreshments in an eastern street of the city.

"However, there was so much to see in the museum that the time was too short. Sometimes, one or two looks was not enough and I was reluctant to leave the displays, forgetting altogether to keep up with the tour team." said Svana.

"I have made similar mistakes several times during my travels here," she said.

This is the first time Svana has toured China. The first-leg of her trip was Shanghai, which has become very popular since the recent APEC summit.

Svana stayed in Shanghai for two days, marveling at its Pudong New District and Nanjing Road, the city's most prosperous thoroughfare.

Her second stop Xi'an, an ancient city with an entirely different style from modern Shanghai, also aroused Svana's heartfelt admiration. The first place Svana and her companions visited was the Shaanxi Provincial Museum of the Qin Shihuang Terracotta Warriors.

Called "the eighth wonder of the world", the Qin Shihuang Tomb was accidentally discovered in 1974 by a local farmer while digging a well.

Since then, nearly 8,000 life-sized terracotta warriors and horses along with tens of thousands of pieces of weaponry have been uncovered from three huge pits, located less than a mile from the emperor's tomb.

The purpose of the warriors and horses was to maintain and protect the spirit of their ruler throughout eternity.

Shaanxi Museum of History is also a highlight bringing an increasing number of tourists to this thousand-year-old ancient city.

In this year's busy season from September and October, the museum has attracted about 44,000 foreign tourists.

Svana watched the people going past the ticket collectors, hoping to find some familiar faces among the crowds of tourists.

At the eastern exit, a team of foreign visitors was waiting in front of the ticket collector, laughing and talking. While several parties of foreign tourists speaking various languages were walking in an out of the western exit in an orderly manner. Nearly 400 foreign tourists had visited the museum up until 11:00 that morning, according to statistics from the museum administration department.

When one of Svana's companions, an older man about the same age as she was, finally appeared at the exit, she felt very relieved.

"The biggest problem that I have encountered in China is that I often fall behind the touring team, for I have too much to enjoy." Svana said.

"My next destination is Beijing and I expect to have an even more wonderful time there," said Svana.

(Xinhua News Agency November 14, 2001)

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