It is a glorious day in Beijing. This is what summer should be. The sky is blue; the sun is hot.
A mass of slowly-shuffling people chatters quietly as they queue to pass through the security checkpoints and enter the vast concrete wasteland of Tiananmen Square.
A man is watering the plastic plants arranged outside a department store. The plastic petals are garishly colourful; the plastic leaves, wetly bright.
Later, lunch is delicious, but it is in the wrong restaurant. My hotel is in between two with the same name. I turn right and head to the wrong one. After I get to the restaurant and realise my host is elsewhere, I do the twenty-minute walk to the correct restaurant as a four minute run and make the meeting hot and late, but in time for the first course. We discuss tea and temples. He asks me my religion. I ask him if he is a Buddhist. ‘No,’ he replies. ‘A Communist.’