Anthony's Interesting Times 2004 travel blog

Me - in Laos (I'll need a photo to help me find...

Son Shea (in Iceland)

Son Marc

My Visa (Just in case!)

My passport (just in case!)

Travel Insurance Policy

Well folks, starting to be a bit more together about my planning for this trip, and experimenting with my web-site. Let's hope this all works!

I have even gone so far as booking my first few nights in Beijing. After much thinking as to whether location (near Tianamen Square and the Forbidden Palace); ambience (up some old and ethnic looking maze of alleyways in a hutong); or simplicity (easy to get to and from, and easy to find) was the most important factor, I went for the latter, as my Mandarin is still untested. As such I will be near Changchunjie Tube Station, a few stops from Tiananmen, on the same line as the Central Railway Station, and the same line as the Airport Bus. And a single room for about £5 a night in a guesthouse with a CD burner. Can't complain (yet).

I also (by late August) finally managed to whittle down my provisional itinerary to manageable proportions. Fact of the matter is I would need at least a year to go everywhere I would like to in this huge and fascinating country, and that's excluding at least a month of serious training at Shaolin. You can see this described in my itinerary, but I know from experience (and that is OK) it won't work out like that. Some of the distances are very large and the transport connections complex, and I am unable to find ways of avoiding either substantial retracing of my steps or travelling several hundred miles across country on minorish roads. So I am going to try to go to about ten places in a few months.

Here are some photos of me (in case you or I forget what I look like) and my handsome sons. If it wasn't for them I might not come back for a very long time. Instead I would become a qong-fu grand master at Shaolin-si, with long white flicky beard, enormous scary eyebrows, the ability to knock shit out of cocky young kung-fu students whilst remaining seated, and itchy fingers whenever anyone says their contact lens is stuck (reference to Kill Bill 2).

(And don't bother with the three photos you can't see. They are my crucial travel documents, just extra back-up in case the originals and my photocopies somehow are lost).

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