In Search of Earth

Nicholas Quirke was fortunate enough to have an appointment at the massage hospital on 15 April 2020 after his fall. The ache felt a little better when he woke and it did not stop him from clambering onto a bike, an Orange one today, and cycling on a gloriously warm and sunny morning to Ping-Angli. He must have been oozing good will and spirits as he rode for several riders and pillion riders signalled hello as he journeyed. It was a swift and efficient session at the Hospital and the Dr made sure he addressed the issue caused by the slip he had. He felt so good, he cycled back to the apartment where he did some work, cleaning and food prep before setting of on another cycle round the city, to The Temple of Earth. The ride took him through some streets And sights that he was familiar with from his first visit to Beijing in 2018 and he even rode past the foot massage joint where he had his feet soothed. He decided he would go back at some point. It was a greyer day than he was used to, but the temperature was still high and he enjoyed warmth as he peddled through Doncheng to the park. Like most public spaces, the Temple itself was closed to the public. But he was able to wander through the park and enjoy its peace and serenity and feast once again on the exotic, beautiful colours and design of the temple buildings and walls. He was meeting Peng at a restaurant in Dongcheng which, he was told, was a right next to the Confucius temple, so Nicholas ignored the static map which he had been sent and put Confucius Temple in his streetfinder. Of course, even though he was at the right location, it transpired that he had taken the words next to, literally and the was indeed, in the wrong place and once again Peng had to rescue him. The restaurant was tiny and due to try he Virus they were only catering for 1 table of people an hour. Once it was 7pm and they had eaten the eclectic vegetarian/vegan fare the restaurant, ’Oli’ served, they would have to leave. It was a warm evening and they walked through Dongcheng and then cycled the 8Km back to the apartment with Peng insisting on stopping at a KFC to try their new ice cream. Nicholas was a little irked by the detour, not only as it was not something he could ave, but it was from another chain of corporate murderers. The day had held a sense of nostalgia for him and he remembered how he had no sense of the city or of China on his First visit and now, after 6 weeks, how familiar and how like home it was starting to feel.


  1. Do you ever see any other Westerners when you are out and about? Or are you the only one in the City?

    1. I am definitely not the only Westerner here. But its very rare that I see anyone. I am not living in the ‘Ex-Pat’ zone. I have seen a few in one of the malls near where they tend to be. Sometimes though I feel like I am the only one in the city. XXX

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