Before the six of us could embark on the inaugural charity walk we organized in early September 1992, we had to overcome the initial shocks thrown up by China's northwest - the poor airport in Lanzhou, the overwhelming reception and the overpowering liquor.
The next day we were paraded around various city sights and introduced to many officials with lots of obligatory handshakes, greetings and appreciation.
We felt that most of the officials had doubtful looks, as if to say "can you all, who are from Hong Kong and used to the good life, do what you say you will do?" So that night I called a meeting and we solemnly promised to complete the fund-raising walk we organized or die trying.
For Hong Kong, the Royal Hong Kong Police and our own honor, there was no turning back.
So we started the next day with a new enthusiasm and dedication. None of us had ever done anything like this before and we were determined to finish the job.
There was a big send-off for us in the main city square. The mayor and other high officials made speeches full of praise and encouragement. Then, following a round of firecrackers, a large group of people, including children, accompanied us out of the city and on our way.
I, as the group leader, only knew that we were supposed to be heading east, as we were doing the Silk Road in reverse. Once outside the city we had to negotiate a slight uphill slope, which seemed to go on forever. Actually this incline was about 10 kilometers long. After that, it was just flat road.
In fact, we first had to navigate a main road, led by a guide who had scouted the route by vehicle.
We had to walk 40km that day. In fact, this was the distance we had to cover each day till we got to Zhengzhou, which is about 900km from Lanzhou.
We came up to Yuzhong county by the end of the day after walking for almost nine hours.
The mayor of the county came to greet us before treating us to a banquet, during which much of the local liquor - called something like the Great Liquor of the Yellow River (very potent stuff) - was drunk. And drunk was the condition of many of us, but next morning we all got on the road again.
But before that happened, the mayor took us on a small detour to visit a resort within the county called Xinglongshan. It was hidden within a ravine and once inside, one got the impression of being in Switzerland despite the rest of Gansu province being covered in yellow barren earth.
The history of the resort goes back to the days of Genghis Khan, who is said to have died there on the way back to his native land.
We left the kindly mayor and the resting place of the Great Khan and continued our march. After several days of having to cover 40km each day we picked up what we subsequently called walkers' blues. JS Lam served with Hong Kong police - `Asia's Finest' - for 32 years, reaching the rank of senior superintendent before retiring in 1996.