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We slept last night on an overnight train from Lanzhou to Xi'an, a 12 hour journey. On this tour we ride "soft-sleeper" trains that provide air-conditioning, sofa-bed type mattresses, and bunk beds on each side of the berth. These trains are deluxe by international standards. A one way ticket covering approximately 1000 km costs $60. We visited Xi'an on our last trip - it is still our favorite Chinese city because it blends both the old and new China so well. Xi'an is a modern city with many kinds of goods and stores, including a Kentucky Fried Chicken. A Ming dynasty (13th century) wall, 30 feet high and crowned by towers and battlements, surrounds the inner city. Nearby is the Terracotta army, an array of lifesized clay warriors (each unique) built in the Qin dynasty over 2,000 years ago. Unfortunately we can't stay long since we need to fly immediately to Beijing and catch another flight to Mongolia early tomorrow. The Beijing flight is uneventful and we end our night with a Beijing duck dinner. Delicious. We discover two people can easily eat an entire duck if it's cooked well.
Outside the Xian's south gate. The wall is 8 miles long and encloses a large portion of the city.
Moving through a crowded Chinese train station with a full pack is like trying to run through the Baltimore Raven's defense.