7 Responses

  1. Tao

    the xi’anese you mentioned in your article, is the reason l love this city too:-)

  2. JAK

    fob here…did my china travelling last year. saw the whole damned place give or take. in xi’an for the long haul. don’t regret choosing the place. you’re right, ofcourse, it’s the people.

    if you get a moment mail me. i’m a fellow writer, teacher, expat dosser from mighty yorkshire.

  3. James

    I mildly agree but I note you’ve not really identified any qualities intrinsic to the city itself, of which there are a few. For example, the world’s worst ghost train in Xing Qing park. Having lived in several places in China,I find the openness and straightforwardness you mention to be a common trend, with discernibly more Westernised reserve such as that found in a Shanghai subway carriage or a Hong Kong branch of M&S being an exception.

    I think the improvements you refer to are part of a nationwide effort that can be found in cities even on the very fringes of China. One of the best art galleries I’ve seen was in Kalamay in the far North West and Hailar’s Gengis Khan park has to be one of the best executed examples of a continual variation on a theme that’s being rolled out almost everywhere, like the overnight expansion of a successful fast food chain. Parks ostensibly designed for the edification and relaxation of the masses on a conscious level, on a sub-conscious one perhaps to suggest that disparate and warring tribes, castes, cultures and states with a lot or nothing much in common were always in fact part of Han China, which I guess is one way of seeing things and useful for social cohesion.

    I agree that it’s interesting to see it all happen and heartening to see the city become a more sophisticated place but you could pick so many 2nd tier cities in China and get a similar experience. So I believe your post says more about your evolving outlook and possible hopes to encourage one in others than it does xi’an. Much of life is just about how you choose to look at something, and the negatives we see, are perhaps a reflection of issues inside of us. But if one can measure relative likeability in pure, statistical terms look at how long people typically come here for. The fact that you talk about bread and butter things that almost all cities deliver nowadays perhaps betrays that xi’an lacks enough to really attract the average backpacker for more than 3 days- which is enough to see what is unique to xi’an- in the face of the culture and diversions and beauty other cities around the world have to offer. My manipulative, smug two cents. It’s all words, words, words.

  4. James

    While I’m being mildly agreeable I should add that I think it’s a very helpful and aesthetically appealing website. A great find.

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