This is my diary for Monday 12th November 2001. I was on a trip to China to walk on the Great Wall, fundraising for the National Star College. I kept a diary but I never published it, so here it is, 10 years on. I’ll do this for every day there’s a diary entry. [Text written like this is commentary added by me now.]
Index of all relevant blog entries is here.
Monday 12th November – second day in Beijing
[It seems I'm definitely running out steam by this point...]
[Pictured here, the "fake fireworks" mentioned earlier... They're animated neon at night.]
Last full day. Get up and go to breakfast but feel like a pig shat in my head (as the saying goes [it's a Waitnail & I quote]) so back to bed. Others going to Lama Temple but my way is better. [Nonsense. A prime example of regretting something you didn't do. I should have gone.] Decide on a lazy day, basically - tomorrow’s gonna be hard. [I.e. the return journey.] Get up lunchtime and shower, go looking for company. Others back about now, Llew shows me Lama Temple postcard - looks impressive but I’m all touristed out. In lobby, Julie changing money and Rich/Ollie off to Pizza Hut, just up road. Have to send postcards so spend 15 minutes licking 24 huge stamps [hahaha - errr?], then follow them up there. Oh wow – it’s pizza! Have my first Edge, excellent. Er, Chicken Delight, if I recall correctly. [Looking back, ten years on, I can only congratulate myself for recording this fascinating detail, which more than makes up for the lack of any memories of the Lama Temple, say] Crazy waitresses. [No idea why.]
Very cold outside, and rather grey. Bloke doing Tai Chi Chuan. [I think, in fact, Julie and I went to a nearby park-ish bit (I remember a small lake) where several people were doing so - but it was quite grey and miserable.] Can’t face packing yet so to bar, where Becca and Laura waiting. Pete buys me a beer, Ollie arrives from cold sauna – something for him to write about I guess. Feeling OK, but really don’t want to pack as implies acknowledgement of impending return to reality. Do so anyway, in a mad rush before dinner (which is at the hotel again). Pretty good meal, though air hot, chips cold, and waitresses intrusive (SIT THE FUCK DOWN! [Hahaha. I suppose this is what we thought they were thinking, given their actions...? No idea really.]) Not drinking much, gonna make it an early night. It’s all fairly subdued, really. Ice cream!
Back in bar, some people (notably Kim – bouncing off walles) are making the most of the last night – and of course the stalwarts are there – but many also subdued like me. Chat with Becca and Laura, then Anita. But ready to crash at midnight so do. Laura spilt my whisky! Llew rolls in late (0430?), turns light on, spends an hour undressing, etc. Bless him, he’s a trooper.
All in all, a nice gentle day.