Beside the Seaside.

Nicholas Quirke was glad of the change of scene on 18 February 2020. He was woken early by the sun streaming in through the window and was excited to note he was able to see the ocean from his bed despite being told he hadn’t paid for a sea view and would need to cough up an additional £150 for the privilege of a panoramic view. But he was bought back to a reality when sciatica suddenly flared. After a few nights of sleeping on a floor he really thought his nerve had been released, though he now realised that was the benefit of siting cross legged on the floor to eat, write and at night, sleep. It was back to the routine of stretches, including the ones his cousin Steve had sent him. He had made a list of places he wanted to go and most of them followed a coastal, Green Path, and he decided that a promenade along the beach for a few miles would be an Ideal way to enjoy the glorious sunshine. Though the sun shimmered on the Yellow Sea, and the deep blue skies provided a dramatic contrast to the absurdly high, 100 floor buildings, creating the illusion of summer, the temperature was extremely cold and he was glad that he had wrapped up for his hike. In the cities, despite the signs, an incomprehensible mish-mash of characters, there seemed to exist a world wide homogeneous landscape of tower blocks, department stores, mobile phone shops etc, but here on the coast as he glimpsed dome shaped islands in the distance, saw boats and coastal buildings he could really feel he was in a foreign and far flung land. Although he loved the discovery of a new place and felt excitement and joy at the outstanding beauty of the views of the sea, the sense of the alien laid the seeds of a momentary discontent that would raise its head later in the day. For the walk, which included taking in Marine City, the fishing village of Cheongsapo and its tiny bit scary Daritdol Skywalk and a tea on the terrace of the Roof Top Cafe, his equilibrium was maintained and he luxuriated in the sensations of the new. He had taken nearly 5 hours on his walk, and once back at the hotel, he caught up with some admin tasks he had bean meaning to complete for some time, one of them, to write the reviews he had promised for his Moscow residence and, of course, his wonderful stay at The Azara Guest House in Ulan-Bator. As he thought about how vulnerable he had felt at one moment and the generosity of Haji’s spirit he experienced an moment of home sickness so acute it bought tears to his eyes. In that instant he felt himself remote, rootless and far away from the security and familiarity of home, and far from his plans to be in Beijing. The making it up, the improvising, exciting as it was had lost its allure. Thankfully Nicholas was able to share these thoughts in a conversation with Peng and soon his sense of fun, adventure and resolve returned. Having spent the previous evening hunting around for somewhere Vegan to eat it caused him mild concern when he discovered an Indian restaurant almost opposite his hotel! Where had his eyes been. He dined alone in the restaurant and when he left full and satisfied, with a hot meal inside him the world again looked a bright, colourful, optimistic and exciting playground to be in.


  1. There’re moments when we realize the most unforgettable memory may not be the food or the view during a journey, but human interactions. Glad you experienced them and I’m sure there will be many more waiting for you in your adventure!

  2. Fabulous scenery Nick. I love the sea. I really feel for you in your home sickness. I hope that you know that you are not alone. There are many of your friends and family reading your blog and sending love to you across the miles each day. I save you blog for first thing in the mornings at 5am when the world is quiet and still so I can give you my full attention. Enjoy your day☺. Xxxxx (P.S. I couldn’t seem to get a soundtrack on the video)

    1. Thanks Grace. Something is glitching with FB at the moment. I hope to sort it out. I am always grateful for the comments and the reassurance and love that I feel from the people at home. It makes my day

  3. What a beautiful place! So proud of you for doing this, so many more adventures lie ahead of you and many more amazing places to see and so many more friends to be made along the way. Thank you so much for sharing it all xx

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