We flew with Qantas into Beijing from Sydney. Technically we started in Melbourne, but the international leg departed from Sydney. We had tried to get Qantas to let me join the flight in Sydney, instead of flying down to Melbourne, and then back up to Sydney again. But they said no, at least not without paying $1500 to change my ticket.
I studied Chinese in high school, all the way to year 12, though I barely remember any now. I’ve eaten with chopsticks since I was a kid. I just remember chopsticks being in the cutlery drawer with everything else, like the little cake forks you use to eat cake. They’ve always just been there.
I’ve been to Hong Kong a few times, either as a 3 or 4 day stop over going to or from somewhere else, or for around a week with the school band, I played the bass clarinet. But I had never made it to mainland China.
Dad had been interested in going for years. Dad convinced mum to go by organising the trip through an agent with dedicated guides and drivers each day to take us around.