Looking down on the city of Xian from the city walls gives a stark comparison between new China and old China.
Xian’s city walls, one of the most well preserved walls in China, were built to defend against Japanese attacks. Bullet holes can be seen scattered by the South Gate. The top of the walls is wide enough to transport horses, troops and their artillery.
Outside the walls is the new Xian sprawling with development. Inside, the old Xian is topped with traditional rooftops and laced with air-dried laundry on bamboo sticks. China has a way of putting me in two places at once – the past and the present.
I rented a bike and rode along the city wall. It was windy and cold and the path was full of potholes. When night fell, the lanterns lit up and Xian turned into a place where the lights traced the silhouettes of the past.
I discovered the best way to end the night is to munch my way through the night market in the Muslim quarter.