A railway journey that led to a lifetime story

By Bruce Connolly | chinadaily.com.cn | 2017-07-19 07:04

A railway journey that led to a lifetime story

Beijing Railway Station in 1987. [Photo by Bruce Connolly/chinadaily.com.cn]

Another concept quickly breaking was cuisine - Chinese food I had loved back in Scotland bore little resemblance to the sumptuous multi-course lunch and dinners experienced in Beijing and of course Peking duck at Quanjude Restaurant on Qianmen Dajie. Apart from breakfast, there was little or no western-style food but I honestly loved every meal and 30 years later still wonder why so many Chinese friends prefer western food. To me it felt like a 'gourmet's paradise' - so much was new, colorful, aromatic and delicious. International fast-food outlets had not yet arrived.

There was no wifi or internet anywhere in 1987. Phone calls at the hotel were pre-booked and I had to try to tell my family back in Scotland everything in three minutes!! Noticeably little English was spoken.

Sightseeing was quite intensive with so much crammed into three days but looking back it was disappointing not to walk around the hutong alleys or stand at Shichahai's Yindinqiao with the sun setting over Houhai. Shopping unfortunately did not involve Wangfujing, at that time Beijing's premier shopping street - instead it was the Friendship Store to use now thankfully long gone Foreign Exchange Certificates!

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