Nicholas Quirke was excited to finally be on his way to Beijing on 26th February. Saying goodbye to Kim, Melbourne and an amazing 2 months in the Southern Hemisphere. In his mind he was sending thanks to all those he had met who had made his sojourn so wonderfully entertaining; from the people in shops, galleries, museums, restaurants and bars he had conversed with to the people he’d been introduced to and to those who had gone out of their way to make his visit really special. At the airport, despite his early arrival, thanks to Kim, his progress through check in was painfully slow though his concerns about the weight of his baggage, for which he took ludicrous steps to reduce by filling his pockets with devices and leads, were totally unfounded. He was able to use the Priority Lounge but their breakfast menu went heavy on the dairy and all he could have to eat was the Pumpkin, fennel and chilli salad which he tucked into with gusto before discovering it had a rogue ingredient, Feta! He sent it back. At the gate he chatted with an Indian chap who amusingly asked him if he was a ‘Preacher’. For the first stage of his flight Nicholas was in a Centre seat and flanked on both sides so it was a bit cramped . He struck up a conversation with the lovely Indian lady from Delhi beside him who thought he was a writer and offered to meet up in Delhi. He reluctantly moved into the seat behind to have more space. There was no on board entertainment so he read and finished The Sparsholt Affair, in which Alan Holinghurst once again managed to create a haunting world that aches with the nostalgia of life passing. and started reading The Rosie Project. He was inspired to start a piece of creative writing, as well as watching the end of Nocturnal Animals which they started viewing last night Kim couldn’t bear the violence. His 3 hour stopover in Kula Lumper was spent in the luxury of the Wellness Spa Priority Lounge where not only did he enjoy a tureen of the most delicious clear vegetable soup but was able to get onto the WiFi and communicate with people. He caught up with Sophia who invited him to the BFI screening of her short film and caught up with emails. He was particularly pleased to have confirmation of a transfer from the airport to the hotel when he arrived at 1.15 in the morning. His spirits were high and the ‘Confucious’ look he had been cultivating was at its zenith. Let the Chinese adventure begin.