Hazel Southam - Journalist

I just want a drink

We topped it off with a decent few hours’ interviewing and a dinner. But it was still early when we returned to the hotel. No problem, the service centre guide said, the bar was open until 9.30pm.

What bar? We walked in and out of rooms that promised to be the bar looking increasingly like Laurel and Hardy on a bad day, incapable of making ourselves understood to a hotel staff that spoke no English.

After half an hour we concluded that a drink from the mini-bar would be simpler. The service centre guide promised, ‘Drinks and snacks will be charged to your bill according to the price list in your room.’

We opened every cupboard, tapped the walls for secret compartments and even looked under the bed. Nothing. Four journalists defeated in their search for one last glass of wine before bed by the Chinese desire to say everything’s super when it isn’t.

We’d had this before in Nanjing. We were promised a sauna (but it was only for men and cost £10), another bar (but it was locked and barred) and internet access (we eventually found the cable in our sock drawers).
Hot milk – the only option – isn’t quite the same.


About Hazel

Hazel Southam is an award-winning journalist who reports on religious affairs, international development and the environment. She has covered four G8 Summits.

She wrote for The Sunday and Daily Telegraph for 10 years. Her work has also appeared in The Guardian, The Independent, The Independent on Sunday, The Daily Mail and The Evening Standard.

Reporting assignments have taken her to places including Bosnia, Zimbabwe, Mongolia, Albania, Nagorno-Karabakh, Senegal and the Arctic Circle.

In the UK, she has also delivered media training to the MOD and leading businesses.

Contact Hazel