When I first entertained the idea of China I was offered positions in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhuo. The usual suspects. None of them appealed. I asked the recruiter if he had anywhere more interesting. He shrugged and suggested Xi'an. Images of terracotta armies, silk road camels, Marco Polo, ancient emperors and adventure instantly sprang to mind. I accepted and his eyes lit up. Xi'an is a hard sell as many foreigners are seduced by the bright lights of China's booming first-tier cities.