Beating Beijing

Nicholas Quirke was feeling so relieved to have awaken knowing he had arrived in Beijing , to have eaten something and to have slept fitfully, that all thoughts of Coronavirus and how deadly it might appear seemed, after the arduous evening he had endured, to be of minor consequence. It was, however, of great significance when he came to get ready to go out and get himself sorted with money and some shopping. Dominic from InterNations got in touch and they had a great conversation about where to get certain things and where he might eat. He also added him to the expats chat, to Hutong Apartment chat and to the social network site. Even though Wei was stuck in Sichuan, he received enough help to get himself around. He was also welcomed by a Chinese advocate for the site Peng, who also gave him some good advice on shopping and Vegan food. He was delighted to receive message from his fellow travellers on the Express and relieved to hear from India and Elinor, who had to change their plans as no trains were allowed into Tibet. They were on a stopover in. South Korea before heading to Kathmandu and they were fine. Qui was on her way to Melbourne so he sadly would not see her in Beijing and Lyusaku was back in Japan, heading off to Firenze and another art education. Slava and Keszinya were still safe in Ulan-Barton but they were planning on Joining him in Beijing. Up to date with everyone, he set off, wearing a surgical mask and his face mask, his thermals and with hand gel and wipes, to find a bank, shops, protection and some proper food. Tasty as the noodles were the night before he was going to need something a little more substantial. As he walked to the bank following his route of the previous evening, he noticed that the area he was in had been the Olympic village from the 2008 games. Relieved to have money in his hand he walked into the main shopping area noticing that there was hardly any one at all out on the streets. Everyone that was had a face mask and were protective of their space. It looked vaguely apocalyptic, as if at any moment the walking dead might appear. He felt safe with so little traffic and people around, no one to jostle and push and crowd him out. He tried several department stores and couldn’t find anywhere to that sold face masks, or hand gel and the only placed open to eat that looked inviting and encouraging was the familiar sight of a Costa Coffee. After wiping down the table he sat and had a green tea, relieved to remove the face masks which were really uncomfortable and hot he was able to communicate with Wei in Sichuan, who recommended a good supermarket for him to go to tomorrow. It would mean negotiating the subway, but he could get himself a transit card, which meant he would be able to travel on busses, subways and even bikes. Nicholas found a supermarket where he was able toi buy moth was, more noodles, water and discovered an interesting g looking snack of garlic flavoured peas. He walked home via the Hutong that was opposite his hotel. It was very different from the smart location he had been in two years ago and seemed very run down and fairly dystopian, its winding streets and iregulatr buildings seemed a little baffling though his innate sense of direction bought him Back to the hotel without any problems. He had a field day with the photographs and managed to capture a grimmer world than the reality actually was.. When he got back to the hotel and WiFi, he had also failed to get a Sim, a message was waiting for him from his tenant regarding the boiler. It was going to mean getting the electricians in again. He also had a message from Peng asking if her had managed to get anything, which of course was a ‘No’ and made him feel suddenly inadequate. It was nice to have someone looking out for him and he enjoyed the chat. He ate his noodles and then discovered that the Garlic Flavoured Peas were just about the tastiest snack ever. After some writing he prepared his money and himself for the next day of adapting to life in the quiet, deserted streets of Beijing,


  1. Literally nobody around 😱 Seems as though you have the whole place to yourself! Happy to hear your friends will be meeting you there and I like the sound of those garlic peas!! xxx

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