Depending how long you've been gone, they've adjusted the XP curve once or twice over the past couple of years. That could account for your extra levels. :)
A lot of people use guild halls instead of cities now. They are planning to revamp both Freeport and Qeynos (Freeport this year, Qeynos next year), but for the most part you're more likely to see more people flocking around brokers in newer zones. The broker system is still very much in use though!
1-9 on several servers is treated like a general chat, but I've also see a lot of newbie questions asked and answered over it. :)
A lot has changed and even more will be changing with Game Update 61 later this month. The new max is level 90, expansions will be focusing more on features while content will be free (for now), max AAs is 300 I think (still have never quite hit that cap!), New Halas is the newest good-aligned city (that's in Frostfang Sea), the travel system was changed to interconnect so getting from point A to point B is much quicker.
There's a lot more beyond that, my best suggestion is to just dive in, maybe do some quests below your level to re-familiarize yourself with your character then a good place to head to for your level is Tenebrous Tangle. There's a nice quest series they added
last year there that will lead you through all 3 Kingdom of Sky zones and you get a very nice set of armor out of it. :)
If you have any other questions feel free to ask and welcome back! :)
edit: If you want to look through patch notes for all the game updates that have occurred start at our GU60 page
and go backwards from there. :) Edited, Aug 4th 2011 6:45pm by Cyliena