I have been to Urumqi, the capital of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region twice. The first time was in 1992; a teammate and I took the train. Back then it was a journey that took two days and three nights; today the fastest train makes the journey in 30 hours. On my second visit to Urumqi (in 2004) I also travelled by train, but from the southern Xinjiang city of Kashgar. That was a 24-hour run along the edge of the Taklimakan Desert.