A Routine Day

Nicholas Quirke was aiming to have a very easy going day on 30 January 2021. A day which marked the anniversary of his departure at dawn by train from Ulaan Baator in Mongolia and arrival, just before midnight in China. That day in 2020 was a day of uncertainty coupled with excitement and an element of fear of the unknown territory and world that he was heading to but a year later he was traversing Beijing via a variety of modes of transport with a confidence and familiarity in the city, the people and now even aspects of the language he could not imagine possessing. It was a plain and simple shopping day at Solana Mall as Peng needed to obtain some special tape to repel the vacuum robot from damaging the speakers. It seemed a long way to go just to get some tape, but the mall where they had spent Christmas Eve had a restaurant that Peng wanted to lunch at and so it was worth the trip. They visited a supermarket which he discovered sold glutinous rice balls which with their English writing looked as if they were exported to the west. Something he would have to look out for on his return. They had lunch at tribe and he stuck with his raw food diet, eating only a salad bowl and sharing a vegetable ‘Voodle’ soup. It was another sunny but chilly day and once they were finished they went to relax in Starbucks. He reviewed on his blog where he was last year and realised that there were a lot more anniversaries coming up which he would have to find some way of marking. On the journey home he was astounded by the line up of delivery carts on a road side with an incredible array of parcels for the neighbourhood they were serving. The difference in delivery vans and trucks was another of the contrasts in the infrastructure between the UK and China that really struck him and he oddly never failed to be charmed by. The little buggy’s piled with parcels that were sifted through on the sidewalk were a constant indication that he truly was in a foreign land. More parcels were to be collected from the gate when they got home though he was disappointed that Peng’s ‘Fu’ had arrived but not his. In the evening they caught up on the end of Redemption Day, which he had found unmemorable and even seeing the end did nothing to improve his opinion. The next day was going to be very busy and an early night and sleep beckoned.

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