Stage 4: Wider reading :

Unit 8: Providence in Beijing

Providence in Beijing

Fear ye not, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord.

Arrived at Beijing last night temperature 28°C perspiration pouring off me in winter clothes and sheepskin (so dressed, simply because I could not carry, push or drag another thing!).

My destination was Yanji, 30 hrs journey away by train, via the Provincial city of Jilin.

That would be the nearest I could get to the border to North Korea.

In view of the chronic communication lapses connected with my endeavour to date, it did not surprise me that there was no one to meet me, but the Lord had something better planned.

He provided His angel a young English speaking Chinese one of His Family who procured a taxi, accompanied me to the train station;

helped me hundreds of meters to the correct ticket office with my luggage;

ascertained that there was no possibility of my being on a train to Jilin before Thursday night, secured the ticket (a "soft sleeper");

found a hotel (exceptionally difficult at this time of the year), which provides a very nice room at a reasonable price (less than $40 U.S. for two nights);

took complete charge of my financial affairs so that I could get the most benefit out of what I was prepared to spend in Beijing;

found a place where we could eat about 11 o'clock at night;

and arranged to meet me today (his day off) together with his like minded young lady, to accompany me by cab to the Great Wall of China.

As in Hong Kong, you cannot see the sky.

The pall extends out across the plain and in among the steep, rugged mountains, where we drove through picturesque scenery and interesting sights including many mule-drawn carts, and some pulled by strong little donkey

The trees along many city roads are really beautiful, and most of the small houses are made of brick and natural stones mortared together, which gives them a distinctive character, though, at least facing the road, the

Of course, tall apartment buildings proliferate, but not sky scrapers.

I prefer the more open aspect of a city without sky scrapers.

It was quite a thrill to be walking with Chinese friends on the Great Wall of China, having not one arrangement to make or problem to meet during the whole period since the young man spoke to me at the airport.

If there was an example of provision made for me it was that divinely arranged encounter .

Without it, I could not possibly have understood what was being said to me at the railway station, or even carried my things there, or found a place to stay.

But the wonderful thing, to me, is that it was not a one in ten thousand or more chance that I had meet this young man (in a city of 10 million);

it was a certainty.

Have passed through Sheng Yang, Manchuria's largest city.

can not see much for miles around cities, everything fades into oblivion in a few hundred meters, even in a hundred it is dim.

This soft sleeper is very comfortable, quite old with connotations of elegance in the lace antimacassars and pleated edges on the seat covers which make me think of old hotels or possibly coach interiors so to me eminently satisfactory.

This train stops at Jilin so I have to catch another to Yanji.

I wired from Beijing and asked to be met, but it seems highly unlikely do not see how anyone can, as it is impossible to find out when anything arrives or departs from anywhere.

Even Chinese-speakers cannot do it, because nobody knows, one must find out by experience.

As I am reclining comfortably at the moment, it seems of little concern.