Hanoi: 48 Hours

  What to do with daylight in Hanoi? As it’s closest, I start by a simple stroll to St Joseph’s Cathedral which is in the midst of being dressed up for Christmas. I follow up with a walk around the Hoan Kiem Lake taking in the view of Tortoise Tower. In the immediate neighbourhood of the […]

Hanoi: Maison D’Orient

Prior to coming to Vietnam I assumed winter would be low season but alas I was mistaken and it’s the complete opposite meaning a room is slightly more tricky to come by. I sift through the guidebooks and websites looking at possibles and highlight a few. One responds to say they’re full. Another takes forever […]

Guangzhou to Hanoi: Adventure on the Train

Directions and geography underpin some of China’s provinces, city and street names. In its most common form; Bei as in Bejing (north) and Hubei, Hunan (nan = south), Guangdong (dong = east) and Guanxi (xi = west) and its the latter two that will feature in my itinerary as I first journey from Guangzhou to […]

China: Frustrations and Fascinations

In my last blog I spoke about why I came to China and where I have been so far. This time I am looking at something else I mentioned before… the more frustrating side of life in China and of course the fascinating. As an expat we are of course often on a back footer, […]

China: Five Years in a Kingdom of Red

This December marks five years’ since I first arrived in the middle kingdom. One of the most common questions I get asked by my students is: Why did you come to China? In short, I had been to Turkey and the school there breached their contract. A friend suggested I teach in Thailand. When I got […]

Shenzhen: The Gentrification of OCT

Before now I have spoken of my concerns for the future of Shenzhen and in particular my favourite haunt, the OCT and its older rustic apartments (where the local Chinese communities reside). On my most recent visit it seems this process has indeed begun albeit with the pavements. Does this mean that the days of […]