Finally, something... from the man on a train
This is going to be more than a little difficult to do because I'm finally catching up with stuff in Beijing and, as you all know, China and Google aren't going to be playing hide the bizarrely-shaped gourd anytime soon. So, anything on a web page which requires a Google presence won't happen. So, my lovely fonts are presently being mangled by my lack of access to my Google application programming interface but the good news for you is that a) you don't have to understand that and b)they're going to display just perfectly for you.
You'll just simply have to put up with any misjudgement on my part but recognise that any ugliness on the page isn't a lack of expertise or taste but the fault of the tight-arsed censors in the Chinese government who, several minutes after this is posted, wll probably arrive on the doorstep intent on making bamboo grow up my bum till it comes out of my mouth...
I can hear the question why has it taken me until Beijing to get started on this being muttered sotto voce. The reason is really straightforward: I've been busy. OK, spending a couple of weeks on a train might not sound like every waking moment is packed with impossibly essential tasks but you'd be amazed by just how much looking out of the window there is to do, or zips to unzip and rezip, or stories to tell and retell, or miles to walk and... you know the rest! There just simply isn't enough time in the world to have all the parties you'd like to have.
And, of course, in addition to Google, China also bans Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Those Chinese just don't know how lucky they are. I do think tho' that when they banned PornHamster, they went one step too far. Just what do they think I'm going to do with my evenings while I'm here? Go out looking for street... food?
Not everyone will be familiar with my aliases. Al Camino has been around for a few years. Al travels the world in search of self-knowledge and ultimate fulfilment but invariably ends up drunk in a dodgy bar on the fringes of acceptable civilisation. In Spanish "al camino" simply means "on the road".
Lapsang Shoeshine is an altogether more slippery character who can be more difficult to define than the mahayana buddhism he studied in his youth alongside options in tea-making and health and safety.
Sometimes you see him, sometimes he's just a stain on your toe that needs rubbing away. His presence on any journey is purely ephemeral; he is as elusive as a Higgs boson in a pint of draught Tsingtao. But you can be sure that when he does eventually manifest himself, he'll leave his mark in an inimitable fashion.
Now you're familiar with the dramatis personae, let's get on with the story!