A Day of Firsts

Nicholas Quirke was happily busy on 18 April 2020 with a schedule that kept himself and Peng out from 10am – 7pm. He had a failed mission in sights that he wanted to resume, of seeing the Ruins of the old Yuan City Wall. He had Originally made it to the park but it transpired that there was a second park where the wall was located and though Google, Apple and other maps had directed him to where he Searched for the relic he actually needed to be at least a Kilometere away from where he looking. With Peng on hand to locate the right spot they got to the start of the wall. Nicholas was surprised by the location as he was used to seeing beautiful landscaped parks but in the area they found themselves in possessed a very tawdry outlook. The ruins were exactly that. There was no gloss to it just a stone path and some unkempt looking pavilions. It was after 40 years living in. Beijing, the first time Peng had visited them They discovered a Buddhist shrine as well as observing the locals at their usual sports and exercise and seeing a couple of amateur musicians, a singer and an Erhu player, filling the air with sounds that have been heard for 4000 years. Despite seeing the genuine relics of the wall they still never found the modern totems to the history that he was expecting. However they did find a VegeTiger restaurant and enjoyed a veritable banquet, during which Nicholas was challenged to pick up and eat without breaking it the silken Tofu. Performing this with ease he was then challenged to use these difficult implements to eat peanuts which again proved to be a effortless task. Ever since arriving back in Beijing Nicholas had wanted to have his sore feet treated and enjoy a foot massage. Peng found a place for him to go and for the first time in his life stepped into a foot massage parlour. There were two years of dead skin and nail to be dealt with and the specialist discovered he had an infection. He was there an hour and once finished it felt like he had the feet of a baby, so soft and clean they were. He treated Peng to an iced Coffee and carrot cake for his patience before the main challenge of the day was taken. Both would for the first time try a bowl of Douzhi with preserved vegetables. Douzhi is a fermented dish from Beijing cuisine, made from mung beans, known for its sour taste and pungent smell. Of all the weird looking, bad smelling Chinese delicacies he had tried this tepid stinking brew had to be the worst. The day had provided lots of fun and another dive into Beijing culture. He had enjoyed seeing the tattier side and was glad to that his friend had got to experience some of the less enriching experiences that Beijing offered for the first time.


  1. Apparently if you both drink Douzhi regularly then you and Peng will be true Beijingers and super healthy. I haven’t tried fermenting anything yet. The whole concept sounds most unappealing but I haven’t rulled it out. Well done for not throwing up.

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