7th August 2018

Beijing (北京)

Shanghai is reached, the bicycle is having a rest and I have a picture of ‘China’  impressed on me like the tread on a tyre. So, what comes next?

As in India, its time to temper the image that’s built up by looking back in from the edge with some trips to historical border lands.

The first trip is done: Manchuria, using china’s ever expanding high-speed train network to travel to the border of North Korea and the former Japanese and Russian borderlands.  Thoughts to follow.

Second, riding out into the sparse steppe of Mongolia on horseback – the antidote to urbanising China?  (This will take me out of contact again for a few weeks).

Then the far west: the central Asian oasis towns of western China.

Until then here is a photo update – 25 snaps from the deserts of Ningxia and Inner Mongolia to the sea at Shanghai.

The desert pitstops of Ningxia

Night Market Zhongwei.

Ningxia: afternoon Chinese music recital.

Ningxia: showboating on the cycle home from school

A lunch break intro to Inner Mongolia – in English

A drop of India in inner Mongolia

Stumbling across the crumbling Great Wall in Shanxi

Unexpected – the ruins of a church in northern Shanxi

Datong’s newly rebuilt wall and old quarter – 5 billion pounds of contentious evictions and rebuilt relics

And just outside Datong: The marvellous Yungang Buddhist caves.

approaching Beijing: The renovated Great Wall at Badaling.

The peloton leaving Beijing

Violin lessons in Tianjin

Chess in the parks of Shandong province

A passionate elderly audience watching Chinese opera in Jinan

The charming cemetery of Confucius and his descendents in Qufu

Baijiu buddies!

Roadside grain drying in Anhui province

The grand canal in coastal Jiangsu province

Neon and tourism in the water towns near Shanghai

Fixing the canal drains in Suzhou

Rockeries and libraries interplay in the lovely Master of the Nets Garden, Suzhou

The future: When your phone is your wallet (but the government controls your phone…)

Communism with Chinese Characteristics…

…in the financial hub of Shanghai