Snow Days

Nicholas Quirke was a excited to see the snow falling again on 5 February 2020 with more force and determination than previously. and he resolved to go out in it. He felt content with his decision to leave right now, knowing he would be back in March and he felt very excited to be going to a new place. His Father had fought in the Korean War when he was doing his National service, which made it feel almost like a pilgrimage. It was his ambition to get into a restaurant and eat. Peng had suggested a place in the city near him called Waggas where he could get a good Vegan lunch, as now he was actually starting to feel quite hungry and lacking in some of the essentials he was used to eating. The snow was beautiful when he was out in it and the Hutong looked magical turning the most of the mundane items into something special. He got to Waggas and of course it was shut, so he contented himself with a green tea in Costas and watched the snow whirl about. He’d was really going to have to get to grips with the menu’s and work out what there was in restaurants he could eat. The problem was they tended to be pictures and so flamboyant and creative it was difficult to decipher what you might be eating. He walked back to the hotel and called in at the market who were now operating a health check on entering. And he submitted himself to a temperature check from a scowling Chinese gentleman who looked at the result and to Nicholas’s horror made noises and gestures for him to not enter. The man showed him the result and it took him a moment to realise the man was teasing him as he was 34.5. They had a good laugh together and he felt quite pleased that the man had felt he could joke with him in that way. He walked back to the hotel to face another banana , an avocado and Noodles. He had intended to get a Sim, but now he was headed to South Korea there was not much point till he returned. Once he returned to the hotel he started writing and trying to catch up with his blog. He messaged his Mother who was having an operation that day And told her of his plan to go to South Korea. He realised that he had been a little selfish continuing to China despite his friends and family’s concerns but every second had been worth it. He still felt he was doing the right thing for him and that time in China, all be it a short one, was something he could achieve, and seemed even more possible with the contacts he had made with the expat community, Wei and now his friend Peng to help guide him through the adjustment. It would all have to wait till he returned on the 3rd of March, if the situation was improving. He went to bed with plans of making his last day a special one. However on waking on the morning of 6 February 2020, not only was it snowing heavily again, but Nicholas Quirke was experiencing an attack of sciatica which proved difficult to shift. He decided he would stay in and when he mentioned to Peng that he would not venture out his friend immediately was concerned about his eating and offered to order him a take away. It was very tempting and when they looked at a couple of menus Peng discovered that Godly, the establishment he had tried to dine at several times, did deliveries. Though Nicholas offered to transfer some money, Peng treated him to a dish of faux Pork and chestnuts with Mushrooms and rice, a mushroom soup and a desert of a plain cake with a date in its centre. Though it was impossible Because of Coronavirus for them to meet and eat together Nicholas invited him to chat on Camera as they lunched. It was a comic situation, a relief to have a proper meal and to enjoy good company. Nicholas determined that Once he was settled he would eat better once in Seoul. Just after eating he got a message from the front desk to ask why he hadn’t checked out. He had booked for the night of the 6th so was puzzled it turned out on arrival they had only charged him for 6 nights. Fortunately the room was available, he paid the extra night and returned to his packing . He was deeply grateful to Peng for the friendship he had been showered with, particularly as he has not had Wei around to help him adjust. He realised he was a going to miss the check ins and contact once he found himself adrift in another strange land, though he did feel that here again he had found a friend for life and that their friendship would continue once he returned. The sciatica had eased and he spent the rest of the day preparing for the next adventure, he said goodbye to Peng, who also promised to arrange a taxi for him for the morning and went to sleep reading the final pages of ‘Maigret in Monmatre’.


  1. Relief! The snow creating a dreamlike end to your Beijing visit but the disappointment of another closed restaurant and a final takeaway. 🙁. The suspense reads like a Hitch thriller about a hot meal instead of a murder. Pleased M. Maigret is making up for that. Honestly Nick, I was more worried that you weren’t eating properly and your retreating resistance than about this galumphingly advancing virus.. Bon voyage a Korea and bon appetit! We have an almighty storm on its way tonight. Xx

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