Northern Capitals - Chapter 6

Nomadic Gatherings by Michel Guntern

Beijing, Northern Capital
Beijing by Ling Tang on Unsplash.

Beijing and Harbin. Japan invaded Manchuria in the early 1940s, and the Soviets followed in 1945.

Some of the dome-shaped architecture remains from the Russian period, although much was destroyed during the Cultural Revolution.

Next 1. Beijing Arrival:
The whole area in front of Beijing station was littered with bodies, curled up on bags, or eating vegetables and rice out of polystyrene, lunch-boxes.

2. Great Wall of China:
The President admired the view from his own personal space while photographers and blond journalists in trench-coats struggled to get through the crowds.

3. Tiananmen Square:
The caller attacked again and bit the other girl, who backed out of the glass-shattered aluminium frame and showed the crowd her wound.

4. Beijing Departures:
The capital of China is one thing to get to, but harder to leave. If you can't get a hard-sleeper on the day you want, you may pay extra for a soft-sleeper.

5. Travel to Harbin:
A Chinese man who had the habit of growling up his phlegm, filled the fourth place. He peeled two apples, while the professor drank Coke and read a book.

6. Harbin Arrival:
Disembarkation from the soft-sleeper was very civilised; perhaps no-one wanted to be first to feel the cold air of Harbin, capital of Heilongjiang province.

7. Noodles and Meat:
In a restaurant, I couldn't understand the menu, so I looked around for something appetising. The waitress suggested that I write it down in English.

8. First Class Waiting-Room:
I was forced to travel soft-sleeper back to Beijing, so I made use of the first class waiting-room away from the masses.

9. Sitting in Silence:
When there's silence between on the train in China, something happening outside the window gives you a chance to think about the lack of privacy.

10. Wake, Eat, Sleep:
Not only did the three men in my compartment not speak to each other, they woke, ate breakfast, and by nine o'clock were all asleep again.

11. Swiss Milk Powder:
Swiss engineers, building a milk-powder factory for Nestle, shed some light on working with the Chinese and a hard, cold life in Harbin.

12. Chinese Connections:
So much may not be available in China one minute, but readily become available with the right introduction letters; like avoiding crowds on the night train.

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