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5 Years ago I ate the best peking duck in Beijing

It was five years ago this week!  In 2012 after finishing a 7 day adventure race in western China we returned to Beijing for a celebratory dinner.

This was the first race I finished and I was over the moon. The year before I quit in the middle of the Sahara desert, exhausted, dehydrated, defeated.

At the end of the week our trip leader took everyone out for dinner on the Nile river in Cairo. It was a great evening but the sting of defeat was deep.

I had the opportunity to return the favor and take a fellow runner, who was a jail guard in the U.K. out for dinner. He was a very prideful individual and had scrounged just to save for the entry fee. I shared with him the story of the last race, how my friend paid it forward to me and I wanted to do the same for him. It was an honor. He was a fine runner and had great spirit.

We called ahead and that duck was marinated waiting for our arrival.  It could have been the camaraderie and company.  It could have been the quality of the duck and many other sides (Chinese lamb pancake, spinach with sesame spinach with mustard, the list goes on!) we ordered.  It could have been I had not had a real meal in over a week!  It could have been the wine or it could have been breathing in the accomplishment.  It was likely everything combined.

The point:

When you have the opportunity to repay the favor to someone new, you can create a magical moment and honor the person who treated you.

I left the next day early in the to the airport, as the sun was just rising in Beijing. The route took us through Tiananmen square, which was silent, peaceful, draped with a big flag of China and bordered with historic statues near the forbidden city.

It was a magical way to end an extraordinary trip.

How can you pay it forward today?

Colin

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