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Urumqi

The burgeoning capital of XinjiangProvince, Urumqi has the largest Uighur community on earth and despite being a large city, this is evident just from looking around. The traditional colourfully-embroidered dresses of the women and the sequinned skull caps on the men are surprisingly widespread. The ever-evocative muezzin calling from the mosque minarets at prayer time will leave you in no doubt that you're in a distant corner of China, far from the Han heartland in the east.

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To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.
Bill Bryson