Purple Bamboo

Nicholas Quirke was trying to take it easy before embarking on a 4 day trip to Nanjing on 27 May 2020. It was all about preparation and he packed his case, cleaned the apartment, ironed shirts, wrote, worked on his video, which was taking a long time as the videos had to download from I cloud and was slow and taking a very long time. Just to add to the sense of calm he was trying to achieve he went on another parking mission to the Purple Bamboo Gardens. It was in the west and was quite a cycle ride, 9km, along sun streaked leafy streets and it certainly gave him a feeling calm and joy. Like all Beijing Parks it was exquisitely laid out with all the features he had come to expect. Including 3 lakes, ancient pavilions and Temple Buildings, Though it was formalised as a public park in 1953 it had been a destination spot for the Yuan Emperors and some of the buildings were ancient. Though the park attracted a lot of people of mixed gender, the park was notorious for being a hot lesbian pick up spot and he did notice that there were lot of single women of all ages lingering in the shady park corridors, and Lounging in the pavilions. It also amused him to note that the Beijing park where men searched for same sex opportunities was a very central location, this park, the women’s space was really not a convenient spot. It was a long way out of the central zone. Was this discretion on women’s part, or was this sexism at play? He was delighted to see for once a young man in costume and to his amusement, although he tried to follow him to get a better photograph he lost him in the crowd. When he then encountered a calligrapher and asked to take his photo, who should appear but the young man in oriental dress who offered to pose. Nicholas took his time wandering around before leaving to find a new Tea house, TaMindSpace. He was pleased with himself for following the map Peng had provided and finding the cafe, which for once was not in a mall but at street level. The tea was particularly nice, a spiral leaf tea called Bilochun. top up after top came as well as a beautiful looking glutinous rice cake with a Matcha mousse filling which he had to turn down as it contained dairy. Peng’s new car had arrived and collected by his parents and he was home later than usual as he had to go and pick up his ID card. The packing and preparations were completed and it was an excited Nicholas who went to bed that night.


  1. Hi Nick – I’m struck by the cleanliness of these places you are visiting – I wish that people in the UK would have as much respect for their heritage as the Chinese seem to (after their, shall we say, rather glaring u-turn following the “Cultural Revolution”) I wonder how many of those temples and pavilions are in fact old at all, or rather date from their massive reconstruction programmes after the devastation under Mao?
    I also wonder if this comment will be allowed to be read in China!
    Keep well, and happy trails!

    1. You will be BB pleased to know that I have escaped any repercussions from your comments. Yes. There had been a lot of reconstructing, famously the Beijing Confucious temple. A lot of the historic buildings were used as offices. Internally changed but exterior remaining. But you are right to suggest that there has been a lot

  2. Hao tru Li-On.
    I’m fascinated by the slight changes in anglicisation from Peking and Nanking to Beijing and Nanjing; we westerners have had problems distinguishing precise consonants… J/K and P/B clearly providing a challenge to our ears. And Nick, explain yourself: WHAT are you doing next to that wall? Px

    1. It wasn’t a mishearing it was based on translating the characters by a chap called Wade-Giles, which was then adapted to m pinyin in 1947 and the correct spelling became Bei(north) jing(capital) and Nan(south) jing. Sorry to be so pretentious/ xxxx

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