The biggest sacrifice of my life was going to the Museum of the Mausoleum of the Nanyue King, in Guangzhou.

Who's the Nanyue king? I've no idea. Some geezer who lived 2,000 years ago and ruled with an iron fist, presumably. And who now resides in a tomb designed to bore the s**t out of me.

I'm actually very interested in Chinese history, but the kind that includes photographs or at least paintings of the people in question. Not just shards and bits of bowls from thousands of years ago, badly illuminated inside a display cabinet with a boring description of which government official presided over the opening of the museum in 1972 or whatever.

That doesn't do it for me.

So, when I agreed to suffer such a shard-filled hellhole with a friend, S, a few years ago, I said it would be on one condition: that we go for a massage afterwards.

"Yes, yes, anything," S panted. S is an archaeologist and, therefore, highly interested in shards. For him, a visit to the king museum was as much a thrill as it was a teeth-pulling living hell for me.

After about two hours - which seemed like 2,000 years of shards, plaques and, inexplicably, a large collection of porcelain pillows - I felt alive again only when S's massage kicked off with a shoulder pounding so fierce I could hear his screams all the way down the corridor.

Despite this sweet revenge, I vowed never to set foot in a shard palace again. Ever.

Then last month I took three clients to Guangzhou for a Cantonese "language seminar" - i.e. food and beer. And culture!

Unfortunately, while en route to a beautiful Chinese garden, it started to rain, torrentially.

"You can't be outdoors," our taxi driver said. "How about I take you to a museum where you can see how the Chinese used to live?" Great!

(I think you know where I'm going with this …)

Of course, it was the old Nanyue king's final resting place hellhole, full of shards and excruciating boredom. This time, however, my companions also couldn't wait to leave.

"Did you know that well into the 1970s, Hong Kong opium addicts were being treated for squashed ears caused by prolonged lying on porcelain pillows?" A.W. remarked as we stood glumly before the 100th glass cabinet.

No I didn't! But I perked up at once.

That's the kind of history I want to know more about.