Beijing Base

Nicholas Quirke was having to return earlier than planned from his latest sojourn into the heartlands of Mainland China on 15 August 2020, as his permission to stay would expire by the 19th. and he had to apply for an extension 4 days beforehand. If he didn’t get to Beijing in time to make the application he might find himself being unwillingly packaged back to the UK. He was surprisingly pulled from his sleep at 5am by the phone ringing. As he had been unable to sleep and the last time he had looked at the clock it had been 3.48am, he had not expected to drift off as he had done. He had been suffering with a sore eyes over the past week, which he had put down to hay fever as it had been in both eyes till Thursday when it had remained in only his left optic, leaving him with a red eyeball and a sinister look. He hoped it would not affect his request. He checked he had all his belongings, said goodbye to Wei and by 5.45 am he was in a Didi on his way to the Airport. It was dark when he left and on the journey he witnessed the rich, golden hued sunrise, which he took as a good omen. He had checked in online, though when he got to security they worryingly questioned his online boarding pass and he ended up having to be escorted by security to get a paper boarding pass. They rewarded his patience by taking him through first class security, which was immediate and swift. For the majority of the flight he cleared up his photographs which were now a monstrous volume and eating into his data, as was the rouge video which still insisted on repeating itself at the insanely ridiculous rate of 400 times a day. He was amazed by how relaxed his entry into Beijing now was. The only check was his temperature and he made his way onto the City Link without any problem. It was pouring with rain when he got up the exit of the station and as he was anxious to get to the bureau he braved the rain with umbrella and suitcase. He was a little damp and red, watery eyed by the time he got to the office and hoped the look would not hamper his request to stay. This time the bureau was very quiet and the process speedy. He had his photograph taken, completed the forms, wrote and signed his reasons for staying and his promise to abide by the Republic of China’s laws and was granted another 30 days to the 18th of September. Getting back to the apartment was a little easier as the rain had eased but he was unsure when he got to Changchunjie station of how he would get back home. A 30 minute walk dragging the suitcase behind him or, try and cycle with the oversized suitcase in the basket. He opted to experiment and with the case precariously balanced on the cycle he peddled back. For once he could not work out Whether it was his Lao Wai looks or the nature or his advance through the streets of Xicheng or both, but he got some very odd looks from the passers-by. After 10 days on the road of continuous hiking, climbing, sight seeing and socialising he was utterly exhausted when he finally rolled through the front door. After a shower and sleep Peng ordered supper and he sat and completely relaxed to a movie, another adaptation of The Secret Garden’ and his favoured Red Bean Ice Lolly. To his surprise despite the lack of sleep and the average retelling of a familiar story he stayed awake but once it was over oblivion for the night beckoned:


  1. Delighted you have more time to keep us entertained each evening with your adventures. Hope you eye calms down – sounds uncomfortable. Good wishes from Brighton.

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