On Vacation, of a kind.

Posted on Sep 11 2016

Hi There.

Back again at last and apologies for being late with this blog but there were valid reasons. Vacation commenced early in July with a flight via Qatar to Beijing, China. Now if you have never travelled to Asia and are en-route on a one stop flight from Europe then I strongly recommend the stop be in Qatar. Not only is the airport vast, and I do mean vast, but it is brilliant. Signage is excellent for onward flights, overhead trains are interesting and the layout of shops with walk around space superb.Not to be missed if you have the time.

Beijing has many, many sight to see but you really need a Chinese speaking guide as English is rarely spoken. The staff on reception at a number of the top hotels speak English but don’t count on the taxi drivers at the airport. You kind of need one of those ‘Take me to the Hilton’ cards. We were fortunate and instead of the ritual of visiting the Great Wall and many other well publicised places we chose  museums and a tour around the district in a kind of four wheeled powered bicycle. The main museum is the national History museum and it is large, said to be one of the largest museums in the world, with exhibits on art and history, and entry is strict. It you don’t comply with the requirements you wont get in. We queued for quite some time in the heat and upon the point of entry were not permitted to enter unless we passed our mobile phone selfie stick to the security. This was a new acquisition but there was no choice so another acquisition bit the dust. Later we visited an art museum that was kind of OK but nothing brilliant to speak of. The tour of the inner streets of Beijing was interesting and we saw many places with plaques advising their history. The guide was excellent and went out of his way to show us places now hardly visited. None of this was according to my well thought out itinerary that went out of the door the day we arrived when we were to learn that there were no sleepers available on an overnight train to another destination. Previously assured that booking would be no problem once we were there!! So what with a flight delay we lost two days. Instead of a late departure we had to leave early in the morning to travel on a high speed train. Now that was interesting. Travelling at 307kph that felt like 100kph. Absolutely brilliant with excellent service throughout the six hour  journey. The benefit of course is that you get the opportunity to see the countryside as against viewing clouds from a plane.

My vacation though was interesting in that I not only visited Asia but at the same time America. How was that possible you may ask. Well I went on a walk with Bill Bryson and his friend Stephen Katz. The walk was the Appalachian Trail, at more than 2100 miles along Americas eastern seaboard its the granddaddy of long hikes and one of the longest walks in the world. This was a walk with two people totally unprepared, without any previous training or fitness regime but two guys that persevered and finished up well satisfied with their efforts and a lot more slimmer when they finished than when they started. As Bryson put it ‘It would get him fit after years of waddlesome sloth.’ He wanted to be able to boast and swagger that comes with being able to gaze out at far horizons through eyes of chipped granite and say with  slow, manly sniff, ‘Yeah, I’ve shit in the woods.’ That’s Bill Bryson for you. One on the wittiest and brilliant writer of our time.

My adventures were not to end there, oh no. A hospital had the pleasure of my company when during the last week my body swelled as I put on 5.5kgs of water. Talk of feeling unwell!! Credit to the hospitals though, they are very thorough and their reports tell you everything about the tests they have done down to the smallest detail. Not like here. The journey home was unpleasant to say the least and within an hour of arriving home I was to pay a visit to the emergency department at our local hospital and the following day a visit to my Swiss heart specialist in Dubai. Tests are still ongoing and I will know more at the end of the month so fingers crossed, but for sure I feel miles better than two weeks ago.

We have now commenced a three day vacation to Celebrate Eid Al Hada and that is more than welcome as it gives me the opportunity to slow down and take things easy. Not an easy task when your driving when some egits like to tailgate inches from your rear. Such is life.

Well that’s me done for now and time to catch up on the British football results. See you next month.

7 Responses to “On Vacation, of a kind.”

  1. Me says:

    Hope you will be fine ????

  2. Me says:

    You let me know ?

  3. Me says:

    Keep in touch ok

  4. Me says:

    News from heart doctor ???

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