23/4/06 to 5/5/06. We hadn't been before. Found our flights on http://www.cheapflights.co.uk/ and our hotel

The Haoyuan Hotel
No.53 Shijia Lane of Dongcheng District

Tel: (86)010-65125557
Zipcode: 100010
FAX: (86)010-65253179
Email: haoyuanbinguan@sohu.com

on the common search engines.

Queuing for the visa was wretched. Getting to the queue with the sunrise, having a medium bottle of vodka, 20 cigs, a moveable stool and a good picnic would have made it better. You need half a day - or longer.

The night before the flight we stayed in a Heathrow Hotel with a deal to park the car for 15 days free.  This is a good way, all starts restful and it pays for the parking.

Then more relaxing drink at the airport before going over the mountains via Russia to China.

We were met by Juliet, and took an official yellow taxi, a third of the price of some of the others. The hotel was what we hoped for and our first dinner in China was in its restaurant. The quads were great for children to play and for us to drink. We quickly met up with an Ausie squad and had a few good nights in the quad boozing.

The next day we discovered the outside gyms of Beijing. The men got fit and at the end the children could play. There is still a fascination for a white blue eyed child and sometimes crowds developed. We went to several parks. Ritan Park was the closest and the favourite. Maya played in all of them.

All of Beijing's air and floor was filled with construction dust. Some babies wore masks. More eye catching was the practice of slitting baby's trousers. Instead of  nappies they had a cut slit in their pants and revealed this when crawling or climbing in front of you. Parents carried poop scoops and cleared up as needed. Kite flying is still big.