Silk WormsUnsurprisingly up early and another skirmish with the hotel breakfast, no real improvement except a smaller crowd.  We've packed one suitcase to leave at the hotel for collection when we return to Shanghai and tried to limit what we take with us. I'm not sure how successful this will be but the thermals are clearly 'not required on voyage'.

Bella has arranged to pick us up at 11 and take us to a silk 'factory' thence to the airport. A bit more forethought would have had us change his to something more interesting but that's really only hindsight.

The silk factory was as anticipated interesting but predominantly a retail opportunity, We bought a useful silk quilt and an even more useful parasol (not silk). Don't ask, I have no idea.

This made us three hours early at the local Hongqiao airport, always useful having extra time at the airport. Great. The flight is apparently 2 hours and there is no time change, time to finish the blog but no internet access L


The flight was mostly uneventful but full service with an actual meal (chicken and rice or pot noodle, both unimpressive). The intereting bit came at the end when the plane looked set to go around, the pilot was very late getting it onto the ground and spooled up I though for a go around only to cut the power and bang it down for an emergency stop. Frankly a bit incomprehensible. Eastern China scored no brownie points for that.

Local Culture Beijing has to be one of the largest airports I have seen and this is the old airport, apparently there's a new even bigger one somewhere not so far away. We were met by our guide, Ling Ling or '11' as she is happy to be known. A bit of a case is 11 but she can't say her 'r's, making deciphering phrases such as Ring Road quite interesting.

The Crown Plaza porter Hans made us very welcome and suggested a number of local spots we might care to see, I think he was offering to arrange this with 'you don't need a guide in Beijing'. Nice try and he's almost certainly right but it does give a feeling of confidence to have oe on the first visit.

By now it's 8pm and the restaurant across the road had Peking Duck but no white wine, a cause for concern amongst one of the visitors, she even suggested I forgo a beer in sympathy! Ha!

The subsequent wine in the hotel remained unfinished. Looks like Great Wall Chardonnay is not a hit.