24th June 2015

So here I am in Fuzhou. Imagine my surprise to find that on the flight to Beijing I wasn’t quite so different after all. Would you believe there was someone else wearing red braces! OK your scepticism was well placed, there wasn’t. I was still the tallest but there were two others who weren’t of Chinese or East Asian descent.

The flight to Beijing was very comfortable and the people around me were friendly, as were the cabin crew. Never having flown long haul before, the experience of “free” hot food was novel; it was good: fish with rice, lettuce with potato and onions, and cheesecake. Great coffee. What more can a man want? I sampled lots of the music on the in-flight entertainment there was some particularly good stringed music from “Wang Yu”. I also listened to a “Peking opera collection of Fang Rongxiang”. Vanessa has booked an evening at the Opera for us in Fuzhou, I’m looking forward to that. The trusty Kindle whiled away time too, I’m reading “Death by Election” by Patricia Hall. I’m enjoying the story though her style would benefit from replacing many of the commas with full stops! The transfer to e-book leaves a lot to be desired too. Don’t authors exercise any editorial control on the conversions? If I was in that position I would insist on seeing the e-book before I permitted publication.

I spent some time talking to a young man Xin from the UK, he is of Chinese descent and has just finished his history degree at Oxford, his dissertation was on Northern Ireland. Small world: when I mentioned my friend who teaches there he knew of him. It also turned out that Xin was travelling with his father to visit family in Fuzhou so we travelled onwards on the same flight.
I managed to get a good chunk of sleep and remembered the advice I was given and got up and walked around. There’s a very direct charm about the people around me. They readily allow eye contact and return smiles. I typed a lot of this on the flight and twice persons wandered by, stopped, stooped to see what I was doing then smiled and walked on.

Breakfast was first class: bacon and fatata, fresh fruit salad and coffee. We landed on time. Beijing was busy and I am fortunate I had Xin and his father to help me. There was 90 minutes to do the transfer and at least 300 people queuing to go through to the transit lounge. Xin’s father was marvellous, he went off to talk to someone and minutes later we were checked through. Xin pointed out that there were posters everywhere condemning the trade in ivory and Rhino horn.

Beijing felt much less friendly, it’s a busy place after all. Once security was negotiated (I got to keep my braces on this time!) it was plain sailing. Catching the plane to Fuzhou was no different than flying short-haul to Europe. What was different however was yet again free coffee and a meal: rice and meat stew, potato and carrot salad and two halves of pear. Yummy all over again. We landed on time and there was Mark and Vanessa to meet the intrepid traveller. More soon, in particular first impressions and some more pics

4 thoughts on “Flying Time”

  1. Glad the journey went so well oh intrepid one! Those red braces must be especially lucky for trips to The Middle Kingdom, but I have a feeling it’s the person contained within them that counts. Looking forward to more posts between the adventures.

    1. Thanks Jon, I’m trying to put my thoughts into coherent order at the moment. Although commonplace for millions of others what I’m doing is well beyond the comfot zone of my family, cosy home and life in the UK. Lovely to have your thoughts fuelling my resolve :>

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