A Sunset View.

Nicholas Quirke was feeling sad as he watched the sunset over the west mountains and the Forbidden City from the vantage of the Terrace bar at the Mandarin Oriental hotel on 2 August 2021 the sun had shone all day and as it’s Rays began to dip behind the west mountains suffusing the sky with golden light he infused it with symbolic meaning as his own sun was setting on a remarkable 18 months. He was never tired of pondering the beginnings of his trip which seemed, as COVID 19 began its grip on China, to be one fraught with impossibility. He had continued his journey and against all the odds he had spent an amazing year and half in the East. He had left the UK not knowing if he would find work, somewhere to live, last a year, which had been his promise to himself. Thanks to Peng he had not only managed to remain in the country and experience everyday life in China but he had travelled all over the vast country and seen some of the most astonishing and beautiful, breathtaking sights he had ever seen. He had delved deeply into the history and traditions of the vast empire and felt he had a better understanding of the mores of its government and its citizens than he had before the journey began. The day had been spent juggling the administration demands of returning to the UK that at times overwhelmed and frustrated him and had him cursing the country of his birth but he eventually got on top of the paperwork and everything was set for a smooth re-entry into the UK. He had a Covid Test to take on the 4th and his testing during quarrentine was all booked and paid for. The final piece was to complete a ‘Passenger Locator Form’ but that had to be 48 hours before his arrival in the UK. With everything in order he was able to head to the MO bar in the Wangfujing Central Mall to see one of the famed sights in the Capital. In the upmarket bar of the Mandarin Hotel he was treated by Peng to The Sunset Hunter, the bars signature cocktail, and he posed with drink which echoed the approaching dusk against the skyline. The beverage came with a postcard and a myriad of snacks including dried okra and peanuts. The sat in the coolness of the bar till the temperature started to drop and they then moved outside and sat drinking in the luxurious style and the beautiful sight of the sun going down. It was an appropriate view and experience to be bringing his stay to end. There were still a few days to visit a couple of his favourite restaurants and to have a final taste of his favourite dishes The remainder of the evening was spent ruminating on what he had achieved and these were thoughts he took to his bed and to sleep.

Leave a Reply