This was once the terminus of the Silk Road. It is my 4th time here since 1997. Each time sees the change. Even Lonely Planet 2009 announces 4,2 m but now it has 8 m population. The Muslim quarter is totally transformed into souvenir shops and one can hardly recognize the original buildings. Of course the city walls are still there but inside them Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Armani shops set a different scene. We have seen more tourists in one day than the total of the whole of this trip. My last visit to Xi’an was 3 years ago and I had the privilege of being welcomed by the Mayor and the City itself. The City walls gate were open especially for me just like B Clinton. It is a very different story to visit the Terracotta warriors, just the 2 of us among the bus loads of tourists.
We had a farewell dinner with Julien and Isabelle, the French couple whom we met in Kashgar. We will follow them on their blog.