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.’