Ready to leave the Orient

Nicholas Quirke was set to enjoy his final day in Beijing on 5th of March, before leaving for India in the evening, when he woke at 6.30 in the morning. He chatted with a friend through the medium of We Chat, started packing, went through his ablutions and then sat down to book his flight home. 3 hours later he still did not have a ticket. He was completely exasperated with the system in China. He could not get into his flight itinerary, he could not communicate with his friend in India and every time he got through to the ticket purchase, on any site, it failed. When Wei messaged to say he was free to meet it came as a well deserved break to his frustration. Nicholas’s solution was to see if sister Kate could organise something for him and she rose to the challenge. He went on another exploration of the Hutong and Park with Wei, discovering the home of Qui Basihi a famous Chinese artist, a museum dedicated to the wife of the last Emperor, a river, and another exquisite Buddhist temple. It really was a beautiful area drenched in ancient and modern history. He could not walk through the streets without thinking about the damage wrought by the Cultural Revolution. He was picked up by Alex at 6 and said goodbye to Wei and headed for the his next location.  The ease of the smooth arrival at the airport soon turned sour. At check in he wasn’t given a ticked for the 2nd stage of the flight and though he questioned it he was told he would be fine. As his suitcase went trough and alarm went off and he had to go through the contents till they fond the offending article, nail clippers. He got through immigration but was continually concerned about the lack of a ticket to his next destination, particularly as he arrived in Kunming his stop over at 1,25am.   Once he had boarded the plane Nicholas felt a bit more positive and the flight was problem free, he even managed to get a bit of sleep though not very fulfilling. On arrival in Kunming the shape of things looked wholly different but he was already into the 6th and a not even a short novella could communicate the chaos that unravelled  over the morning.




  1. My heart goes out to you as I read this .The feelings of utter helplessness and frustration in the face of beaurocracy, language and the great unknown. Just like hanging in space. A stranger in a strange land indeed.
    But you made it, mission accomplished. Sandra

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