That was easy. I got through Chinese security in 3 minutes, picked up my bags in 10 minutes after both flights (to Beijing and then on to Xi’an) and breezed through customs. Buying the ticket to Xi’an in Beijing was also easy (bring cash). No one has tried to feed me chicken feet yet. Xi’an is polluted, but the snow is very white, not black. It’s a little bit warmer than London. No one tried to rob me of my passport in Beijing airport. None of the awful things which my kind friends told me would happen have occurred.
The traffic, though, absolutely resembles the nightmare which was described to me by previous visitors. The signal for pedestrians to cross the road is an animated green running man. There’s a countdown beside it; when the countdown gets to three, the man starts running faster. I would. I’m guessing the taxi drivers have some complicated point scoring system, and play for serious money.