Departing the vibrance of Xi’an’s embrace and charisma, it was time to step out of the illustrious ancient capital and hop aboard for a 30-hour train ride to Ürümqi in the northwest province of Xinjiang.

Change was very apparent as Daniel Pannemann, Taylor Nawrocki, Barney Page, Vladik Scholz, James Capps, Patrik Wallner, Tommy Zhao, and Mike O'Meally found themselves trundling through a new and somewhat frozen and barren region. Laughs were shared as the high spirits and goodwill wafted through their cabins all the way to Xinjiang’s most populous city.

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