9th May 2017
The nine million bicycles has dwindled to about three. There are at least nine million cars instead, probably more, as it has a population of 22 million. Whilst we are on numbers it is one of the oldest established capital cities in the world and it has seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites – the Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace, Ming Tombs, and Zhoukoudian, as well as parts of the Great Wall and the Grand Canal.
30th August 2016
Shangri-La is punctuated by stops at border crossings for more passport checks as we inch closer to China. There is the pre-border check in Kyrgyzstan, then the stamp the passport Kyrgyzstan stop, then into No Man's Land and five checks spread over 140 kilometres in China before we actually officially arrive.
1st October 2012
Air Pathetic took off on time today. Just when you wouldn't mind if they cancel a flight they don't. I am really sorry to leave the South Pacific. It's been really great. Am now in Honkers again-and guess what- it’s raining. Though every cloud has a silver lining- my hotel is running one of those big Asian buffets.
19th August 2011
I am on the upper deck of one of those huge horrible planes I have had nightmares about so am trying not to panic. It's massive and I can't believe it can possibly take off.
31st October 2000
Despite the inauspicious date an evening flight (later than I’d intended because of last minute very annoying change by Cathay) to Hong Kong. I have arranged to meet friends Susanna and Irvin on their way to Australia on a month’s break. From the new airport the express train speeds me to the city in twenty minutes.
31st August 1996
My first trip to China (if you don’t count Hong Kong) was in the nineties. This was pre-digital camera when the images are scanned from old prints, so they are a little grey and dull. That’s pretty well how the weather was when I was there- and the smog. It was really a good route right up through the middle, with a wiggle to the west and Sichuan/Yunnan) taking in all the major tourist sights. In those days touring was still very controlled and there was a lot of army surveillance, hotels were dubious and the many diverse sights amazing
11th September 1988
. The bus breaks down frequently. When it does the drivers disappear underneath, burnishing spanners and more Tibetans appear miraculously and help to get it on its way again. If our bus runs smoothly the road is blocked by other buses or trucks that have broken down, often tipping ominously to one side.