A little poem to Beijing, as we’re leaving soon-ish

Three and a half years ago when we first arrived, I hated the change and drowned in self-pity, But now that we’re leaving, my mind keeps turning To all that I’ll remember about this funny old city:   Spitting men and honking cars, The smell of burning coal baked into my hair, Taxi fare scams and … More A little poem to Beijing, as we’re leaving soon-ish

Meeting Mr Goldilocks

Much of the time, Beijingers strut the streets in an out-for-themselves, survival-of-the-fittest manner, swinging doors in faces, jumping queues, nudging each other off pavements, photo-bombing tourists and generally assuming other people are invisible until they need to ask for directions. In this respect, Beijing is the same as any other city in the world; but … More Meeting Mr Goldilocks

The hidden hutong

This week feels like the longest week since time was created and some idiot somewhere decided the weekend should only be two days. This is odd, because this week spring officially announced itself in Beijing, with temperatures soaring from sub-zero to mid-tens overnight and the odd tree or two sprouting plum blossoms in every park. … More The hidden hutong

Singles’ Day

Last week on 11 November, while my UK news feed was awash with red poppies and fuzzy patriotism that marked Armistice Day, here in China the date marked a national event of a very different mould. In China, 11.11 is Singles’ Day – inspired, rather ingeniously, by the four ‘1’s all standing alone. It’s an … More Singles’ Day

APEC sunny

This week, a newly coined phrase is on every Beijinger’s lips: ‘APEC 蓝’ – literally ‘APEC blue’, meaning ‘APEC blue sky’. With more than a hint of irony, it refers to the blue skies artificially created by the government who, in a bid to hide the smog from the world leaders here for APEC, has … More APEC sunny