Sheep Without a Shepherd

Nicholas Quirke was in a positive mood on 28 July 2020, having allowed the 27th, other than a cycle ride to Beijing fun to go to InWe for a long enjoyable Emerald green tea and watching the genuinely creepy ‘Ghosts of War’ in the evening to slide into oblivion. He had been intending to go to The Natural History Museum for some time since it had re-opened and finally the opportunity presented itself. It was interesting to see the birth of creation and Darwinism from a Chinese perspective with a variety of fossils and creatures not seen in the Museums he was familiar with in the UK. Most of the notices were in Chinese and though translating on WeChat was straightforward, he did find that it was sometimes awkward to understand the English version. It was fascinating seeing the species that are protected in China and the species that animals in the continent have evolved from. He was suddenly aware that in the mountains and forests there were serious wildlife and he realised why the government limited the areas people could go to. Its was a ltitle disappointing as many of the exhibition Halls were closed but what he saw was informative. He was very close to The Peking Opera House he had attended in 2018 and he made a short pilgrimage to the square theatre and got some photos of the sculptures representing characters from the stories. He finished the journey with a trip to a nearby mall where he had first been in February but was mostly closed. It was now open and bustling and he discovered had an ice rink on the ground floor and he spent some time watching the skaters. He had tea and did some work before cycling back to the apartment. When he left the mall the streets Wet and there had clearly been a storm. He hoped the air might feel fresher but it was still muggy. Back at the apartment he prepared for another visit to the Cinema though this time with Peng. The venue was located in Xidan, Joy City, and close to the apartment, which meant they could walk and have supper in Mocha Bros before the film, a Chinese thriller from 2019 ‘Sheep Without a Shepherd’ and what a thriller it was there was not a moment when he was not invested in the story and its arc. The ending was full of redemption and justice and Peng explained that all stories must end positively and that Justice must always be seen to be done. It was great to be back in a cinema, despite one guy talking on a phone and someone not silencing their phone which rang and beeped with text messages with an alarming frequency, till he realised that they were in the same cinema, but separated by the social distancing measures and were talking to each other! Really annoying! They were unable to eat or drink in the cinema and had to wear masks at all times. The snacks and drink they had bought with them were consumed on the way home. He was anxious to see more Chinese films and Peng booked up another screening of a film called ‘The Message’. He had reached out to the online expat community and been put in touch with a film director he would meet with also on Thursday, the week was looking like being one where he would learn more about the industry in China and about the ravages of Covid 19. As he tucked himself into bed he surveyed the next couple of weeks and with more travel plans and more contacts it was looking like a busy and exiting time.

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