The Beijing security guard blinked. 'Get a load of this,' he radioed to his superior. 'Highly suspicious character proceeding towards Block C.' Moments later, the chief security guard hurried out of his office to take a look. Dark-skinned and bald, Your Humble Narrator is used to being stared at in China. But strolling through Beijing with a Chinese baby under each arm - well, I left residents wondering whether to alert the media, the Public Security Bureau or the local exorcist. I had gone in search of a somewhat unusual building: a special 'Hong Kong-style' apartment block, built by a Sino-Hong Kong joint venture in eastern Beijing. In true Hong Kong fashion, every inch of it appeared to be lined with marble and polished granite. The lobby floor had been waxed to such an extent that Torvill and Dean would have had trouble staying upright on it. For less dextrous humans, such as this writer and the four guards now flanking him, it was a case of making slow, flailing progress as we slid around like Bambi and Thumper on the frozen pond. A female employee, charged with keeping the polished floor too slippery to walk on, followed behind us with a mop and sundry imprecations. She rubbed out each footprint as it was laid - rather like curling in reverse. At last we made it to the lift. The guards accompanied us up to the 38th floor, and to the actual door of the flat we were visiting - occupied by a Hong Kong couple who had moved to Beijing to do business there. 'Do the guards accompany all your guests to your door?' I asked. 'Only suspicious ones,' my host replied. The guards, he explained, had little to occupy them, since the complex was 90 per cent empty. The rents were so high, no one could afford to move in. Yes, truly, a Hong Kong-style complex. Your Humble Narrator had taken his two adopted brats and 13 Hong Kong schoolchildren to Beijing, a majestic city with friendly citizens. On the first day, we asked our charges what exotic foods they wanted to sample for their evening meal. Beijing home-style? Hunanese? Shanghainese? 'Burgers,' the teenagers said in one voice. So we gave them some time off, while we commandeered a bus to take them to the Beijing branch of Friday's, a chain of Western burger bars. Later, the youngsters climbed into the bus. 'How did you spend your afternoon?' I asked the students. 'Did you go into downtown Beijing? See any cultural artifacts?' 'Yeah, we went to the Beijing McDonald's,' a spokesyouth explained. The following day, the souvenir sellers at the Great Wall urged us to compare their prices with those of merchants at other markets. 'How much you pay for this?' said one gap-toothed but rather charming crone, fingering my souvenir cap. Then the crone noticed that the baby girl under my arm was Chinese. She pointed to the infant: 'How much you pay for this?' We stayed in Beijing's Lido Hotel complex, the long-time home of Shoul Eisenberg, the super-rich businessman. I was disappointed not to bump into him at all during the stay. Perhaps he could not face emerging into a hotel we had filled with rowdy children? I was amazed to hear, upon returning to Hong Kong, that Mr Eisenberg had suddenly died. We had nothing to do with it, Your Honour. Three o'clock on a chilly afternoon, at a truck stop near the Ming Tombs. A sound we recognised came from the yard: the thud-thud-thud of a basketball on tarmac. Local youths were playing on a potholed car park near a Friendship Store. Some of the Hong Kong youngsters dived into the fray. It was a touching scene. Two groups of youths, from two vastly different parts of Greater China, united by a shared love of sports. Or it would have been, had it not been for the fact that the slick Hong Kongers, despite being younger and hugely outnumbered, uncompromisingly wiped the floor with the sweating and bewildered Beijing youths. On the last night of the trip, we told the Hong Kong students they could choose one last destination. Was there some place they had read about in their guidebooks they wanted to see? A temple they wanted to go back to, the sight of which would crystallise the memory of their stay in China's capital? Yes, they replied, there was one neat place which had impressed itself on their minds and cried out for a repeat visit. 'Oh hi. Back again,' said the captain at Friday's. 'You really like our burgers, don't you?'