Blog Archives

Life in Beijing: catching the bullet train

Chinese CRH bullet train

You’re woken up by the sound of an old man violently expectorating in the hutong alleyway outside, cringing during the pause while he holds his mouthful of phlegm for a second or two between noisily bringing it up and noisily depositing it on the floor with typically exaggerated sound effects.

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Life in Beijing: the Street Barber of Shilipu

Pop-up street barber in Beijing

I was just going through some old photos and found this one of a pop-up street barber near my old place in Beijing. There isn’t much of a travel blog post I can write to go with it, but it shows a side of Beijing (and China) quite different from the grandeur of the Forbidden City or the Greatness of The Wall.

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Life in Beijing: Airpocalypse Now

One night while living in Beijing I coughed and hacked and spluttered all night long, with an itching and burning in my throat that nothing would alleviate.

I didn’t sleep much that night, and when I finally did wake up in the morning, shattered, I awoke to the horrifying sight of blood flecks across my pillow.

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How to Visit the Great Wall of China from Beijing

You know, you can see it for miles. It goes on for miles over the hills and everything; but so does the M6. D’you know what I mean? You can see that for miles… and you go, “great,” and that does a job – you can drive on that!”…“It’s the Alright Wall of China” –

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Beijing to Chengdu in the autumn holiday: 27 hours in a tin of sardines!

Obviously, the train was packed. It was the autumn holidays, when the whole of China travels home to see family, and the only tickets available had been for the hard seat carriages – these carriages do have numbered individual seats (‘hard’ meaning non-reclining, because there are so many packed in),

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An action-packed first overland run through China

I’d been to Hong Kong & Macau the year before, but when we arrived in Beijing at the end of our Trans-Siberian journey, it was my first time in mainland China (and for my two companions too). Mike and Ross had flights booked back to England from Shanghai two weeks later,

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A Beijing Bender

Beijing’s a city I’ve been to a whole bunch of times, including a spell living there for a few months in autumn / winter of 2013, so I’ve come to know the place pretty well and have plenty of memories there.

But it was that very first weekend I ever spent in mainland China that stands out the most from all the time I spent in Beijing;

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The Beijing Teahouse Scam (trolling the trolls)

Introducing the Beijing Teahouse Scam:

“So, how about going for tea?” she suggested.

“Sounds good,” I replied, “but actually, I think I’d prefer a coffee right now.”

“Oh… but, coffee is too strong for us Chinese, we can’t drink it,” she bullshitted (all evidence to the contrary).

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