Nitty Gritty

Nicholas Quirke was getting down to the nitty gritty business of living in China on 22 May 2020  when encouraged by Peng’s research into Health Kits for Shanghai and Nanjing he embarked on another much needed mission to obtain a bank card. Their previous attempt had ended in failure, with the banks shaking their heads in a indifferent fashion. Though he had intended to go to a newly discovered park and the likelihood of the IBOC fulfilling his needs were remote, he thought it best to try. He was oddly excited to note that the Bank was located in the big grey square building that he had been able to observe from the window of the apartment. Even though his Beijing health kit showed green he met with some resistance at the door with security talking unintelligibly to him, but as always in these situations he demonstrated his incomprehension and moved on into the bank where he was greeted by a worker who could speak some English. Once he had explained that he was travelling round China and needed a bank card to support the health kits he was shown to a window where he started to hand over all of his documents. Suddenly it seemed supremely easy, he completed a couple of forms and the only hiccup was he did not have his National Insurance number on him. There was a slight hiatus as he cycled swiftly back to the apartment to get the information and headed straight back. Contrary to the doom and gloom messages on the ‘Safe and Sane’ WeChat group who had helped direct him to the Bank, within the hour he was the proud owner of a Chinese bank account and card. Payments in China work effectively when linked to WeChat and Ali Pay, which are also mediums for a myriad other activities. Most importantly to get around any city in China now a health kit is required and he requested that the teller set him up with the tools to obtain them. Things started to get complicated as the phone line had been organised by Peng and in his name, which meant that Nicholas, though he now had a card, could not link to the kits he needed. After a phone call to Peng he headed to a China Mobile office to have the phone transferred into his name. Naturally that wasn’t going to be possible unless both parties were present and it was something that would have to wait until tomorrow. He returned home to a phone call with Eileen and an update on home life before preparing himself for a zoom meeting with his Australian friends. They covered many topics and he was grilled about life in China during COVID19 and life with Peng. It felt like the first time he had a more than a 1 -1 conversation with people for a long time and he enjoyed the banter and teasing. Hearing his friends talk about life in the UK at this time made him feel glad that he was in China and away from the atmosphere everyone was living in. There were many who had questioned his desire to explore one of the most demonised countries in the world and yet he now felt that not only had he achieved his goal of living in China and discovering its culture but that there wasn’t another place on earth right now where he could sufficiently survive. As always he felt inspired by Kim and he was determined to harness the feelings of the day to day moments and experience he was having and do something really creative with it. It was a really positive way to end the day and with these thoughts he bought his Friday to a close. With material at a minimum he decided once again to attempt to post the earwig journey.


  1. Great news in getting your bank card, well done you! I am now asking myself why I just spent over two minutes watching a video of an earwig??!!! Felt like I had to, didn’t want to miss any part of your day 😂 xxx

      1. Or maybe it was terrified of the giant camera filming him 😂😂xxx

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