Nicholas Quirke was wishing the day away on 4 August 2020 and counting down the hours till their flight from Beijing to Zhangjiajie. Of course, he needed to collect his results from the hospital, and as he hadn’t been dragged away from his home in the night, he felt safe to assume all was well and indeed , all was well. To kill some time not only did he walk back feom the hospital but he stopped at a cafe for some tea then headed back to the apartment to complete the final preparations for the trip. He indulged himself in one of his now favourite treats, a red bean Ice lolly, which he not only found very tasty, but came wrapped in retro Chinese paper and appealed to sense of style. The flight from Beijing Capital International Airport was three hours and they experienced some turbulence but it didn’t bother Nicholas who finally had then opportunity to watch ‘Train from Busan’ which was an engrossing and surprisingly touching zombie film. It was night by the time they landed and he was surprised that he had to get off the plane first As laowai there was a specific channel they needed to go through. And once it was confirmed that they were ok it was straight put of the airport which was a mere 4 from the city centre and their hotel. It was a shame that he could see nothing of the landscape that had lurked in his imagination for decades but come the morning and another dream would be realised. The room on the 14th floor was comfortable and they ordered a noodle takeaway. He was looking forward to sampling the Hunan’s renowned spicy cooking and the dry noodle dish did not disappoint. They had an early start, which meant an early night.