Trails and trials of the writer who walks
The adventure begins! My budget-priced cobbled-together flight schedule has landed me in China, where I step out into a post-apocalyptic murk. The sun, at 7 am, is dull and red, filtering weakly through smog and dense humidity. It feels eerie, like the after-light of a full eclipse, and we have to stand on the barren tarmac for a long time waiting for the shuttle bus to return after delivering its first load of passengers . The bus takes nearly twenty minutes to reach the terminal, where another hot and sticky queue feeds me through passport control, even though I’m not actually entering the country. Fortunately, I have been to China before – I wouldn’t like to judge it (or any country) by the airport experience. I have no Chinese Yuan on me, so pay for my coffee in euros. Thirteen! Okay, the twirl in the froth is exquisite, but I didn’t know I was commissioning a work of art when I ordered it.
(Postscript: on my return journey, I am reckless enough to buy a modest meal at the pizza restaurant and pay by credit card. The exchange rate is quite fair, so that the meal ends up cheaper than the 13-euro coffee.)