We stayed just inside the city walls, which are imposing but renovated, not actual relics but instead facsimiles, designed to snag tourist dollars. We ate delicious street food, drank beer and met strangers with smiles and accents. We drank the beer at the hostel, feeling self consciously wealthy because we weren’t sneaking in terrible long necks and bijou like the real travelers, with their tight budgets and long term travel plans. We laughed, toured and read books. We explored, photographed and absorbed the city. We walked miles, and our legs and bums ached from riding the walls of the inner city. We crashed a tandem bicycle, but escaped unscathed. We got a great look at Xian. We enjoyed it, even in the heavy rain. But we look forward to returning to Beijing, my home away from home.