Rob signing in!

Hello everyone from Rob – the infamous Battersea Park football fouler.

Chris adds: here’s an action replay, as if you needed reminding ;-)

The Infamous Battersea Park Fouler about to get his name
The Infamous Battersea Park Fouler about to get his name

The Infamous Battersea Park Fouler's destiny is decided
The Infamous Battersea Park Fouler’s destiny is decided

I’m currently packing my bags to join Phil and Chris in Xiahe, near Lanzhou. I’ve already had my first taste of Chinese officialdom facing the stern woman behind the glass at the Chinese Embassy in London last Thursday morning. She grabbed my forms without a word and refused to answer any of my questions about bits of the visa application form I couldn’t complete. As I left the embassy to wait two hours for them to express process my application, I met three travellers on the steps who had been refused a visa, despite having submitted airline tickets, full itinery and contacts in China. I hadn’t submitted any of this information; I hadn’t even bought a flight yet, so I wasn’t very hopeful.

I returned two hours later to face another stern woman behind glass and…

…within minutes my passport was returned to me with the green visa sticker adorning its pages and I was walking elated along Regent’s Street.

I texted Chris the news from my mobile and as I stood looking out over the busy midday traffic of Oxford Circus, I received his reply saying that they were in the middle of the desert, not a building in sight, on their way to Turpan along the Southern Spice Route. Suddenly the crowds around me seemed very far away.

Written by on Thursday, May 9th, 2002

6 comments on this post

  1. Good to have you on board mate. Another man at the helm will be welcomed by the ball. Football with Tibetan monks will be your opening game, then down into the Chinese valleys before swimming the last stretch to Korea. OK?

  2. Having completed your three match ban , you may be lacking a little fitness. How will you be training to achieve peak physical condition , now that you are so far from the gym and your personal trainer?

  3. Look forward to seeing you, Rob…

  4. Last time I met a bunch of monks in Asia, their game definitely wasn’t football. Lets hope these guys are less prone to hand balls.

    Tim – I have played one match since my ban expired, and that was in Bristol last weekend. Not one hand ball or foul all match, so my game has improved immeasurably, almost to the extent where I know the rules.

    For fitness, I am using an old trick I was taught by a Zen master (currently residing in North Finchley). Every night I dream of doing some exercise and in the morning I wake up fitter.

    Looking forward to seeing you Chris and Phil…!

  5. Claire Blakeney May 18, 2002 at 9:00 am

    Hi guys,

    Looks and sounds like you’re having an amazing time.

    Great website…. really enjoyed reading all about your travels….

    From, Claire.

    PS Rob….. glad you arrived safely. David says he’ll do some on line training for you!!

  6. shirley & malcolm May 18, 2002 at 11:50 pm

    Hi boys

    great web page.really interesting to follow your travels. Wish you lots of luck in all that you do.hope rob scores lots of goals & that the best team wins.It must seem a long time since the good old Bristol days.

    Thinking of you all

    Shirley & Malcolm

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