Growing up I had a certain fondness for giant pandas. Others may use the words infatuation or obsession, and point to the bin bags full of stuffed toys and other paraphernalia in the loft at my parents’ house as evidence, but it was really just a passing phase of a mere 15 years or so….

The Great Wall of China: Hiking and Camping

Whether it can actually be seen from space or not, there is only one way to properly appreciate the Great Wall of China, and that is to stand on it. Better still, walk along it, or sleep on it. Even before you consider its age, length, purpose, or the number of people involved in building…

Chinese Parklife

Temple of Heaven Park, Beijing, Saturday morning, 8am. Jetlag has us up and about early, and in plenty of time to witness an extraordinary aspect of Chinese culture: Parklife. The large park is packed with Beijingers. Individuals, small groups, large groups; young people, old people; some in tatty old tracksuits, some immaculately turned-out and made-up….

Motatapu Off-road Marathon

After the New Plymouth half-marathon in October, our friend/boss/second mother in Taranaki, Jo, somehow managed to convince us that we needed a new challenge to focus our minds and encourage us to keep fit. We allowed ourselves to be signed up for the Motatapu Off-road Marathon, a remarkably scenic, and correspondingly hilly, event run between…