Saturday, 24 December 2011

Xi'an - Terracotta Warriors

I took the public transport bus #307 from in front of the train station, out to the terracotta warriors. The ride cost 7 RMB which was paid to the conductor slightly after departure, and took around 45 minutes to get there going past a number of other anonymous (to me) tourist attractions which various Chinese people hopped off to see. Arriving, it stopped in a car park in front of some shops outside of the larger official car park where all the tourist buses stop. I followed signs past the carpark and over to the ticket office.

Once I bought a ticket and fended off around six Chinese people offering me audio tours or guiding or something, I set off on the long arduous trek to the actual site area.

2011-11-17 - Xian - Terracotta warriors - 01 - Entrance area

From that plaza, to this plaza.

2011-11-17 - Xian - Terracotta warriors - 02 - Entrance area

Then to these statues, which you have to walk around.

2011-11-17 - Xian - Terracotta warriors - 03 - Entrance area horse statue

No climbing..

2011-11-17 - Xian - Terracotta warriors - 04 - Entrance area horse statue

Onto this bit, where you go past some stalls in the middle selling random junk foods or cooking various street foods.

2011-11-17 - Xian - Terracotta warriors - 05 - Entrance area

Then past a forest, and through another plaza to the actual site entrance.  Over to the right, people arrive in motorised carts which they paid 4 RMB to skip past all this walking, from the ticket office.  But all along this walk, there were numerous stalls selling souvenirs.  Maybe the cart-takers have to walk past all this on the way back.

2011-11-17 - Xian - Terracotta warriors - 06 - Entrance gate

Once inside the entrance, there's a museum over to the right.  Within the museum are various different kinds of terracotta warriors, with plaques describing their purpose.  Maybe this guy used to be holding something, I don't remember.

2011-11-17 - Xian - Terracotta warriors - 07 - Museum - Kneeling statue

A .. crane?

2011-11-17 - Xian - Terracotta warriors - 08 - Museum - Crane statue

The wrestler?  I don't recall.

2011-11-17 - Xian - Terracotta warriors - 09 - Museum - Broken statue

A terracotta chest?

2011-11-17 - Xian - Terracotta warriors - 10 - Museum - Chest

The museum hall.

2011-11-17 - Xian - Terracotta warriors - 11 - Museum - Hall

Excavation hall 3.  I went through the three halls backwards.

2011-11-17 - Xian - Terracotta warriors - 12 - Excavation hall 3

Lots of solid looking mud, with stuff in it.  No really, this hall was the least impressive.

2011-11-17 - Xian - Terracotta warriors - 13 - Excavation hall 3

This photo may have come out bleary due to the no camera flash policy, but to me it just looked like lots of broken bits and pieces which were left laying around and allowed to become dusty.

2011-11-17 - Xian - Terracotta warriors - 14 - Excavation hall 3

A man with a horse.

2011-11-17 - Xian - Terracotta warriors - 15 - Excavation hall 3 - Man and horse statues

A statue of a high ranking officer.

2011-11-17 - Xian - Terracotta warriors - 16 - Excavation hall 3 - High ranking officer statue

A statue of a middle ranking officer.  Looks like he used to be doing something with his hands to me.

2011-11-17 - Xian - Terracotta warriors - 17 - Excavation hall 3 - Middle ranking officer statue

Kneeling archer statue.  Same deal with the hands, couldn't they make a terracotta bow?

2011-11-17 - Xian - Terracotta warriors - 18 - Excavation hall 3 - Kneeling archer statue

More rubble.   Not much more interesting when seen unblurry.

2011-11-17 - Xian - Terracotta warriors - 19 - Excavation hall 3

Entrance, or rather as I was going backwards, exit to hall 2.

2011-11-17 - Xian - Terracotta warriors - 21 - Excavation hall 2 - Entrance

Hall 2 pit room right-hand side.

2011-11-17 - Xian - Terracotta warriors - 22 - Excavation hall 2 - Right-side

Hall 3 pit room left-hand side.

2011-11-17 - Xian - Terracotta warriors - 23 - Excavation hall 2 - Left-side

And finally hall 2 pit.  This is a bit more like it.  Looks a lot less like caked dusty piles of dirt and junk.

2011-11-17 - Xian - Terracotta warriors - 24 - Excavation hall 2 - Pit

Hall 1.

2011-11-17 - Xian - Terracotta warriors - 25 - Excavation hall 1 - Pit

All the tourists who probably can't read English, given some of whom who are using their flash.

2011-11-17 - Xian - Terracotta warriors - 26 - Excavation hall 1 - Pit

As one of the teeming masses of tourists, looking out from the balcony.

2011-11-17 - Xian - Terracotta warriors - 27 - Excavation hall 1 - Pit

Heading back to the car park, I stopped off at the shops and stalls along the way.  I bought a box of terracotta statuettes as a souvenir, bargaining down from 50 RMB to 5 RMB.

Then walking all the way out back to the street-side car park, I took public transportation bus #914 back to the train station in town.  This cost 6 RMB, and stopped off several times along the way to just sit there waiting for something.  Or for the conductor lady to pop off and put her card in some machine to get it ticked off.

Most of the stalls along the road-side were selling what I assumed were onions.  But these, after seeing a few vendors with some cut open, are actually pomegranates.  The bus sat here for around 10 minutes.

2011-11-17 - Xian - Terracotta warriors - 28 - Bus 914 back - Pomegranite sales

During this time, some bloke drove in and dropped off some water bottles to the restaurant in the top of the photograph.

2011-11-17 - Xian - Terracotta warriors - 29 - Bus 914 back - Water delivery

And the pomegranate sellers to the other direction sold a few more.

2011-11-17 - Xian - Terracotta warriors - 30 - Bus 914 back - Pomegranite sales

This... statue? was along the way back (we'd passed it on the way in too).

2011-11-17 - Xian - Terracotta warriors - 31 - Bus 914 back - Sculpture

And that was it.  Onwards back to town.

Overall, given this and the Great Wall are two of the things which I had been brought up hearing about, I felt like I should have been awed but wasn't.  I think hiring a good guide who tied it all together with history and facts would have made all the difference, and not being likely to ever see it again I could probably gain a better appreciation if I watched a documentary on the subject to tie it all together.  In fact, that's a good idea and I'll try and remember to find one!


Had  two earthquakes here yesterday that I felt.  Luckily I am an hour away from Christchurch, so don't get the worst of it.

Friday, 23 December 2011

Python garbage collection crash

I run the unit tests for the Windows debug build of Stackless Python 2.7.2, the tests pass, but on exiting the interpreter crashes.  The problem is that the garbage collector finds a 1 element list, where that element has either been already garbage collected or never initialised.  Logically, the following occurs.

How do you track down the cause of this crash?

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Xi'an - Motel 168

Looking for a hotel close to the Xi'an metro that wasn't too expensive, I somehow ended with Motel 168 through internet searches.  It seemed like a better idea just to turn up, than to book on-line, but a couple of hotels later I think that's a bad assumption.

The scrolling marquee advertised a room for 108 RMB / night, but that room had no windows.  The next step up was 138 RMB / night, which was what I went for.  This is actually approximately what I would have paid per night, had I booked on-line.

2011-11-16 - Xian - 16 - Hotel

The room itself was a bit dingy, with the wall to the right being dirty and having a hole in it.

2011-11-18 - Xi'an - Motel 168 - 01 - Room right-side

Outside the window was a rooftop of a lower building within an alley.  On the roof were an array of garbage and assorted unwanted or lost objects, including one fancy looking sneaker.  Below the desk, under the kettle the wall was a panel that gave access to the "shower forest".  The room came with free internet access, but I needed to request a cable from the front desk.

The internet access was slow.  1990's dial-up access slow.  I gave up on it, until after using my VPN to access a site behind the Great Firewall, I noticed that access through the VPN was very usable.  After that, no worries!

2011-11-18 - Xi'an - Motel 168 - 02 - Room left-side

The bathroom was more modern looking, and excepting the shower was in good repair.

2011-11-18 - Xi'an - Motel 168 - 04 - Bathroom basin

The shower was interesting.  That metal doodad hanging from the ceiling gave water at a good pressure, but the drain couldn't keep up.  The wall tiles were a bit wonky and in need of repair.

2011-11-18 - Xi'an - Motel 168 - 03 - Bathroom shower and forest

I'd recommend Motel 168, it is pretty standard for a Chinese hotel.  Although in retrospect, while it doesn't seem natural to live in a room like it, the cheaper room with no windows couldn't be much more dingy.

As for conveniences..  The metro is a half block and a street crossing to the north, and there's a supermarket right beside the metro entrance.  The train station is about 15 minutes walk down to the south corner and off to the east outside the city walls, this is also the place where you can catch a bus to the terracotta warriors.  I found it pretty handy, and the staff while they didn't speak English, got by with my limited Mandarin.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Xi'an - Xiyangshi - Sticky rice

My favourite street food of my stay in Xi'an was this one.

There was a corner stall with a giant tub of sticky rice, with what seemed to be a bean and date flavouring. The tub was structured in layers of rice and flavouring paste.

2011-11-19 - Xian - Breakfast rice - 01 - Big tub

You'd order a given serving size, I ordered the 5 RMB one.  Then the lady serving would hock out a chunk of the current rice layer, plunk it in one of these containers and then hand you it and a pair of disposable chopsticks.

2011-11-19 - Xian - Breakfast rice - 02 - Serving

I don't eat rice normally, mainly for boring reasons related to it providing no nutrition and just being used to accompany whatever has the flavour. And I am not partial to the Chinese bean flavouring in any way, shape or form. But this was delicious, and I'd treat myself with it if I could find it back in New Zealand.

I had some more photos related to this, of the stall, the lady carving out chunks and more.. but my ipod seems to have swallowed a random selection :-(

MUD development blogs wanted

MUD development blogs are not that common.  Besides the initial set we started with on Planet MUD-Dev, it is rare that new blogs are found to be added.  If you know of any that meet the criteria, please comment on this post and let me know the URL.

Blog suitability criteria

  • Should contain posts about development of a text-based MUD.
  • This can be played a browser, played in a custom client or of course a standard telnet client.
  • Multiplayer roguelikes are considered suitable, as long as their game is represented with text.
  • Tags or categories should be used to separate suitable posts from off-topic ones.  If not, and off-topic posts are too common, I do not add the blogs.
As it is hard to find blogs, I do not complain to blogs that do not meet the last criteria.  The first three primarily represent my interests, as otherwise I wouldn't be interested in running this aggregator.

Unfortunately, I noticed three blogs died.  While they didn't have recent posts, having them on the aggregator was useful both to collect any unlikely and unexpected new posts, but also mainly to point to them for anyone interested in doing some MUD-related readings.

Removed blogs
  • DGDhub.  Site is present, but content removed.
  • Iron Realms.  Default unconfigred web server install now appears at this location.
  • Ryan Hampshire.  Blog deleted.

Here are tables of analytics data for anyone else who is procrastinating.

Keywords through which this blog was found.

The most common sources of traffic.

And that's it, I should really do some MUD coding.  Or at least something more productive.

2003 MUD-Dev Conference & lost MUD resources

Back in the day, there was a parallel conference to GDC which was MUD-specific, and organised by posters from the MUD-Dev mailing list.  This was the MUD-Dev conference.

The 2003 conference had a CD produced, for which the contents was described on a now Internet Archived page.  Unfortunately, my past efforts to locate someone with a copy of this CD have failed.  One of the presenters, Nathan Yospe, replied saying he never saw a copy.

It is a pity that so much is lost.  At least community efforts have recovered a full MUD-Dev mailing list archive, and also a full copy of Imaginary Realities.

Has anyone saved any rare MUD resources they think might be of interest?  Maybe even some of the publically available files on the conference CD-ROM page?