Category Archives for China


Top 10 Things to Do in Beijing with Kids

Forbidden City Beijing

Headed to Beijing? The Chinese capital can be most excellent fun with kids at almost any time of year — though do avoid the main Chinese holidays. Herewith, ten of my favourite things to do in Beijing with kids. (And, no, the smog won’t kill them.) Skate on a Frozen Lake There’s nothing quite like […]


Coming Home?

Airbus A380

Like most things to do with travel insurance, extracting us from Hong Kong takes longer than you could possibly think. On Thursday, we’re going to fly on Friday. On Friday, we’re going to fly on Saturday. Then, we’re not, because the airline office requires fit to fly certification and their medical division, which need to […]


Fit to Fly?

Sign reading YES made with yen, euro and dollar signs - TST, Hong Kong.

It’s an indulgent buckshee week in Hong Kong. Zac and dad head to the movies, to the arcades, barely surfacing from the air-conditioned tunnels and plazas that link one mall to another, except to indulge in Adventure Time marathons on Cartoon Network. Me? I engage in that mixture of pissing around on social media and […]


Top Ten Things to Do in Hong Kong with Kids

Top Ten Things to Do in Hong Kong With Kids

We’ve spent quite a bit of time in Hong Kong by now – it’s actually a great place to visit with kids — and yet I’ve barely written about it. So, in the spirit of public service, here are my top picks for things to do in Hong Kong with kids. Go to Ocean Park […]


Good to Go!

Zac being prepared for surgery in Hong Kong.

There’s a bustle in the room when I snap awake, an orderly cluster of pastel-dressed nurses, neat in pink, apricot, mauve and chocolate, emitting the sort of gentle efficiency that, as a convent school girl (insert your own joke here), I still associate with nuns. Zac is still sleeping the sleep of the dead, but […]


The Longest Night

Detail of MRI scan output.

After Zac’s epic and terrifying reaction to Stemetil, I am now quietly confident that everything that could go wrong already has. After a refreshing cigarette or five, I locate the floor that has free coffee and make myself some, then rejoin my spawn and his father in the quite ludicrously sci-fi basement of the Union. […]


What Else Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Zac in MRI Scanner

The Union hospital stands tower-high among the green hills of the Sha Tin district in Hong Kong’s New Territories. Jungle winds between luxury condos, car lights wend their way to glittering mansions, the neon of the city shines below us in the velvety dark. It’s harder to find a bigger contrast to our normal Hong […]


In Xanadu…

View over the site of Xanadu, Kublai Khan's summer palace.

There are some places on this earth that have a magic in their name. Samarkand. Timbuktu. Xanadu… And, as Xanadu is pretty much on the way from Harbin to Mongolia, it would have been remiss of us not to visit. Well, I think Xanadu has a magic in the name. If you grew up with […]


Chinese Hospitality in Changchun

Jingyuetan Park Changchun

“Do you have a hotel?” our now-ex-landlord asks, as her husband, Xiao Feng, chauffeurs us 45 minutes across town to the brand spanking new Harbin West station. Their three-year-old son is on her lap, playing a literacy game on her phone, effortlessly picking out the correct name for “lorry”, “train”, “bus” and a whole series […]


In Which We Hit the Road Again

Daffodils and tulips at the botanical gardens, harbin.

It’s a wrench leaving Harbin, more than I’d thought it would be, and in the week running up to leaving I’m almost in denial. I leave it to almost the last second to confirm with everyone from the landlord to Zac’s school that we’re going to be off again. Not least because I’m not entirely […]