Flowers and flowering trees abound.
Like many Chinese cities, Xi'an is divided into rings, one being the inner part, then moving to two, three and more into the suburbs, each with its rules and limitations. For example, only small dogs are allowed to live in the second ring; large dogs may live in the third.
There is a Muslim population of more than 100,000; there's a Muslim Quarter and even a "Muslim Street" filled with food and crafts vendors. It is an extremely popular spot with locals and tourists.
"We show our respect for their habits, praying and food," our guide proudly told us. The university has a special dining hall for Muslims. There is no more room for the Chinese to be buried so all are cremated. However, because Islam requires burial, the Muslims have their own cemetery.
We were there twice, both for too short a time, so we recommend you take your time ambling along, people watching, sampling strange foods and enjoying the mob scene.
We were treated to a unique dining experience at Tang Dynasty Art Garden Hotel. Emperors used to stay here when acknowledging successful candidates who passed the imperial examination for state positions.
Midway through our banquet a quintet of lovely musicians, the Xiang Fu Jasmine Band, arrived with their traditional instruments to entertain us. As we had discovered at the "Everlasting Sorrow" performance, classical Chinese music is quite lyrical. A perfect exclamation point to a superb evening.
Speaking of evening, Xi'an saves its biggest surprises for last. Just when you think your hotel's neighborhood is ho-hum,
night falls and the lights come on.