Our Man Mark

  

I have been remiss in keeping this site updated, but then in the last 30 days I have been to Spain and China, as well as meeting deadlines. My casual, well-planned April got blown out of the water when an editor asked if I could go to China on short notice. Like in two weeks time. I scrambled and made the trip. 

It was glorious! China is fascinating, but it helped to be able to travel in Cathy Pacific’s business class and stay in Ritz Carlton hotels in Shenzhen and Beijing. In Beijing, Ritz Carlton provided us with a special bonus: Mark. Mark is a young, club floor concierge who was assigned to our little group for the duration of our stay. He was there at 7:30 am to greet us and bring us coffee or tea each day. He then changed his clothes to go biking with us – placing himself between on-coming traffic to ensure the safety of the more wobbly cyclists among us – and then when we tripped in at 11 pm after a late supper was back in his suit waiting to ensure we had wake up calls and coffee delivered to our rooms.

He accompanied us to the Summer Palace, the Forbidden City and the Great Wall. There he walked with me, and seeing me struggle to walk up the wall, held my pack up, before finally taking it from me completely to lighten my burden. When we went to Beijing’s Yashow Market, he became our barterer. He was so good at knocking down prices that shop keepers complained – they asked why he cared, it wasn’t his money he was spending.   

If anyone is old enough to remember the old move, Our Man Godfrey with David Niven, I’m happy to compare the values and virtues of Our Man Mark to those portrayed in the movie. Our group hopes Ritz Carlton fully values what a treasure Mark is. He’s kind, attentive to detail, honest, hard-working, cheerful and anticipates needs and desires.  

So thank you Mark.

 

 

Mark on his first visit to the Great Wall. This was in Mutianyu.

Mark on his first visit to the Great Wall. This was in Mutianyu.

 

 

Mark scampered over the wall like a mountain goat. He actually ran up inclines like this!

Mark scampered over the wall like a mountain goat. He actually ran up inclines like this!

 

 

I thought I knew how to make this appear upright. Oh well. Here Mark escorts Vivian to the Great Wall.

I thought I knew how to make this appear upright. Oh well. Here Mark escorts Vivian to the Great Wall.

 

 

Our mad little group after we had done the Great Wall. Once you've walked it you'll understand the feeling of accomplishment. I should have bought one of the I-survived-the-Great-Wall T-shirts.

Our mad little group after we had done the Great Wall. Once you've walked it you'll understand the feeling of accomplishment. I should have bought one of the I-survived-the-Great-Wall T-shirts.

 

 

Our crazy cooking class at the Black Sesame Kitchen, Beijing. And yup, Mark was there with us, pouring drinks and helping in any way he could.

Our crazy cooking class at the Black Sesame Kitchen, Beijing. And yup, Mark was there with us, pouring drinks and helping in any way he could.

 

 

Vivian and Mark at the Summer Palace, Beijing.

Vivian and Mark at the Summer Palace, Beijing.

 

 

I'm with Mark and Gus, from Cathy Pacific Airways, at Beijing's Summer Palace.

I'm with Mark and Gus, from Cathy Pacific Airways, at Beijing's Summer Palace.

 

 

Mark's "professional" moment, holding our guide's flag outside the Forbidden City.

Mark's "professional" moment, holding our guide's flag outside the Forbidden City.

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