Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Asia trip 2002: early Sunday afternoon in Beijing

[Continued from: Asia trip 2002: in the British Airways lounge Saturday afternoon]

After the overnight flight from London I arrive in the hotel in Beijing around Sunday lunchtime. The hotel has internet connections from the bedrooms so I set up my laptop and log on to, not sure if there’ll be anyone to talk to. It turns out that there are a quite a few people in the Beijing chat room, although from their bio-lines it’s obvious that only some of them are physically in Beijing. So I go into the chat room to see whether anyone wants to talk to me.

I have a couple of ideas for things to do. There’s the usual of course. But I also wonder if any of the locals would be prepared to give me a little tour of the Forbidden City which is very close to the hotel I’m staying in.

After several minutes in the chat room wondering if anyone will want to talk to me, a guy from Shanghai contacts me. He is very interested in meeting me, so I tell him that I’m in Beijing, not Shanghai. He seems a bit disappointed, so I ponder the pros and cons of trying to arrange a meeting with him when I’m in Shanghai tomorrow. The advantages would be that he’s looks great in his photo so I’m sure I’d enjoy it with him. Another advantage would be that I’d have already sorted out a bit of fun for tomorrow evening. The disadvantage is that in the UK, the further in advance these kinds of meetings are arranged the less chance they have of actually happening, so I this could end up wasting a lot of time tomorrow.

While the Shanghai conversation is occurring, a student in Beijing contacts me. His English is adequate, but he seems a bit wary of me, even though it was him who contacted me. It’s like there’s one side of him that wants to talk to me, but another side of him is trying to hold him back at the same time. He is interested in visiting me in my hotel room, so I ask if he could first walk me through the Forbidden City and show me the main sights. He agrees, so we arrange to meet in the lobby of my hotel around 3:30pm. His name is T.

While I’m still online, I decide that it’s worth the risk of trying to meet the guy in Shanghai. I discover that his name is H. I figure that since I’m a foreigner, I’ve got a curiosity value to him as well as being a potential sexual partner, so hopefully the meeting will occur if we set it up. He has a mobile phone so we exchange mobile phone numbers and I agree to contact him Monday afternoon to set up a Monday evening meeting.

There’s 45 minutes to kill before meeting T so I unpack. I think about phoning boyfriend number 1 to tell him I’ve arrived safely, but it’s around 7am back in London so it’s too early. I also check to see whether I’ve got any response to my advert. To my surprise I do have a couple of responses. This is going to be a fun trip.

[To be continued: Asia trip 2002: Sunday afternoon tour of the Forbidden City]

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