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Awoken by the “yappy dog!” at 6.30am in our Chinese bedroom deep within the village of Gaobedian – an hour by car from Beijing. Actually it’s not very far in distance, but we’ve sure travelled miles away in terms of cultural experiences!


We left Beijings big western style hotels and its label shops behind seeking the real China but felt apprehensive when both our driver and guide seemed lost. Among the cacophony of machine-gun like talking into mobile phones, the boys were looking at me with the “what are we doing here Mum?” look. This sinking moment was lingering, when out popped an eldery lady from an alley way wearing the greatest smile on her kind and happy face. She was frantically waving her arms and motioned us over to her home – phew, we’ve arrived! 


We were welcomed in to their home with flower tea and bananas and Mr Xiu busied himself in their basic lean-to kitchen cooking up a Chinese feast using gas-fired woks while Mrs Xiu communicated with us rowdily without speaking a word of English. They were taken with the boys height & youthfulness and fussed over them endlessly. We were thankful for our guide staying close while we explored the village on foot and were received like VIP’s everywhere.


Craig & I stayed in another house just down the alley-way as the Xiu’s home could only fit two guests at a time. Our room was very western with two beds – both with mattresses on bases without springs which made them quite hard. They featured white cotton duvets, soft pillows with the room providing little towels, a comb set and a toothbrush in a packet. Slippers too! It must get both hot and cold as there was both a radiator and a heat pump.


Sleep is a relief after another big day out while the trains rumble past into the night and fade into the distance...

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