China: Great Wall

THEY say every journey starts with one step. Sometimes it starts in farce, too. Knowing it is essential to set off early from Beijing to visit the Great Wall before the tourist masses arrived, I arrange with my Chinese friend Qian for an 8am start. She holds out for 10.30am. We haggle and eventually compromise on 9am. Qian turns up at my hotel at 9.30am and then drives to a Starbucks for breakfast. Continue reading “China: Great Wall”

Beijing: Thronging to see Zedong

THE QUEUE is four wide and stretches endlessly into the distance. We shuffle along at an efficient, if not quick, pace.

I’m the only foreigner among the thousands of tourists around me – curious glances are sneaked, the odd stare.

We’re waiting to see the embalmed body of China’s most famous son, Mao Zedong, the man who brought communism to China. Continue reading “Beijing: Thronging to see Zedong”