It’s official. Rapture did occur. We are in Beijing at the beautiful, modern, Regent Hotel. 5 star by any US standard.  We just went down to the breakfast buffet. The most magnificent food spread I have ever seen. Can you gain weight in heaven? Beijing food easily matches Parisian food!  And this is prepaid. You can see we are really roughing it on this part of our trip. Is this glorious start so that we have good memories while crossing the Gobi or parts of Kazakhstan? I can only say, sign up with a tour with MIR corporation and Doug Grimes. You won’t go wrong.

How we got to heaven: Nope, we were’n transported on a cloud, we were in barely-business class on American airlines. Raleigh-Durham to Chicago then an additionaql 13 1/2 hours more from Chicago to Beijing. The international part was fine, but the domestic leg, which they labeled as first-class, had a choice of chicken or pasta-what I remember as standard fare in cabin class just a few years ago.

Beijing feels very foreign, which I like. Our hotel has a  Bently dealership downstairs, and Ferrari, Mercedes and Rolls, just steps away. Not a typical US intercity! Our hotel is luxurious. The wall between the bedroom and bathroom one great big pane of glass, floor to ceiling, and head to toe. With full view of the free-standing bathtub . Another wall is a gigantic mirror. Is this a typical businessman’s hotel? You won’t surprise a maid here!

The city streets are clean but this morning there is a huge haze over everything and somehow I don’t think this is fog. I won’t need my hat to prevent sunburn. The hotel room has an opening window, but the inside air is transparent, so I’m not opening it. We did notice on our cab ride from the airport that most road signs are in Chinese and English. That is a relief. I only need to convince Doug that leaving Beijing on Wednesday should be at 12:20 am. Traffic was moderate and polite. I’m not quite so scared of driving here now but let’s see what today brings.

I’m trying to learn enough local customs so as not to offend. I’v learned to give and receive credit cards and business cards with two hands and a slight bow of the head accompanies this. I am very excited about today’s plan to visit The Forbidden city, Tiananmen Square and the Temple of Heaven-all within walking distance from our hotel.  Photos later. Monday well be the Great Wall. And in between, more wonderful food!

Stewball is not yet out of quarantine. Are they worried about the dreaded Beetle virus?

Happy in Bejing,




About ejhowle23

Authors and adventurers, participated in the World Race 2011, an automobile rally from New York to Paris, crossing three continents and 14,000 land miles. Following much the same route as the setting for our debut novel, The Long Road to Paris. This blog describes our own adventures and challenges. And now you can follow our Bahamas sailing adventure that provides the setting for our second novel, Night Watch. Our rally, the African Safari Challenge, crossed five countries in South Africa in May 2014 and in 2015 we participated in the second Trans-American rally this time from Nova Scotia to San Francisco. Spring of 2016 we travelled 28 days around Australia with friends from previous rallies and in the fall participated in our most exhausting rally through Argentina, Chili and Peru- the Rally of the Incas. We were awarded the Against All Odds award. We're still not sure if this was for us or our car. Stewball never broke down and we hardly did. We will soon take on Iceland as a self-drive tour and in the fall of 2017 we will participate in the Odyssey Italia and then back to Africa for a do-over (almost) of the Africa Safari Challenge.
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5 Responses to Rapture

  1. Carla says:

    Beijing sounds colorful and exciting. Enjoy!
    Greetz from Bill as well,


  2. rdsieber says:

    Focus on those luxuries, not on the smog! :]

    Happy for you that you are now on the ‘big leg’ of your journey. All the best!

    ronn sieber

  3. Mike Grogan says:

    Ed & Jan – Glad the trip went smoothly and that you’re in the lap of luxury now. As for Stewball still being in quarantine, I’m guessing some officials there read your book and are going over your engine with advance x-ray technology, sonograms, whatever it takes, to determine your engine specs. Or they may take it out on you that their secret agents in the book were not portrayed in the most favorable light. Maybe you should promise them a much more positive role in the sequel! Good luck on the rally, and have fun in the Forbidden City.

  4. ejhowle23 says:

    Thanks Mike, these are all possibilities that we hadn’t considered. Who knows. China blocks China blocks facebook so no telling what else they may block! Now we have new words on Kazakhstan. The adventure unfolds!

  5. TBC says:

    What a glorious start to your overseas adventure! We are green with envy.

    Meanwhile, we shall have to content ourselves with Andalucia (was terrific), the Luberon area of Provence where we are now in a charming gite, and thence in Toscana!

    Give Stewball a nice bat when he escapes the clutches of the officials!


    TBC and Arnie

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