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Beijing

From Beijing to Lhasa on the Z21

If you have followed my blog on some of my other Chinese adventures you will know that I’m not a big fan of Beijing West railway station. Once you have managed to get into the place, the design is based around a number of huge waiting rooms. I don’t think “waiting room” describes it very well though. “Shouting Room”, “Spitting Room” or “Standing Room” would all all be better descriptions in my experience.I showed my ticket to a couple of guards and they concluded between themselves that my best shot was to hang around ticket check no. 4, where my […]

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The Scorpion King

I woke to a distinctly strange sensation. I wasn’t sure quite what it was at first. Then I got it. It was one of stillness and a total lack of movement in any direction. I reached for my clock to find out what the time was, but it wasn’t on the table next to my berth. In fact there was then a further incomprehensible discovery. There seemed to be no edges to my bed at all – it stretched on and on in all directions, well beyond the dimensions of my compartment. It took my brain about 30 seconds to […]

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Christmas dinner, hutong style

I┬áhave been on R&R in Beijing over Christmas. Its a strange time with modern China getting in on the commercial side without really understanding its meaning. That said, I’m happy to be here, and I love the place. The main downside here to me is access to my blog and Twitter is blocked by the government, so I now have two weeks of travel news to update you on when I reach Hanoi. Other than that the only other mild annoyance is the large number of well polished scammers that target Westerners everywhere with a brilliant story about their art […]

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Beijing

Distance travelled so far: 9336 km. Distance left to go to Singapore: 9152 km Final morning on the train before we arrive at Beijing. Time for a rather early lunch in the Chinese restaurant carriage, and then some packing and exchanging plans with fellow travellers. No idea why, but lunch is strictly served between 10.30 and 11.30 this morning. No menu as such, but all quite friendly and efficient. As seems to be normal in a Chinese restaurant car, a policeman is on hand to prevent possible noodle theft and black market exchanges of meal coupons! The scenery is totally […]

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Peking duck

Distance so far: 11,112 km, distance to go: 1,318 km. -10 C, dry & sunny. I know you don’t need a “tourist diary” from me in Beijing, but I do have a couple of updates as I down tools (or should that be “trains”?) for Christmas. First of all, for the record, my Christmas dinner – a rather special whole duck carefully prepared at Da Dong, suppliers of the best Peking duck in the city. (No Christmas pudding, but you can’t have everything!). Leaving the train and getting back into civilised living is an odd experience. Once I left the […]

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Beijing

Distance so far: 11112 km, -10 C, sunny, GMT +8 Another good night’s sleep – I woke to the feeling of the brakes and fearing a “Crazy Ivan” as we pulled into Datong, our penultimate stop (bang on time). Not much to see on the platform or indeed the station, which was devoid of human life apart from of course about 20 guards from our train standing alongside their carriages. They were supervised as normal by our “C in C” and “RSM”, who clearly are now preparing for passing out parade at Sandhurst wearing their best dress uniforms. I didn’t […]

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