The weekender

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Flag of China  ,
Sunday, June 10, 2012


Finished work a bit early Fri afternoon & took a walk along the road from our apartments in a direction we hadn't yet explored. Only 5 mins walk to a massive intersection with about 3 huge shopping malls, and the subway station. I still can’t believe how big all the shopping malls are & so many so close to each other! Heaven!! Found the likes of Zara, H&M etc. as well as lots of cool looking Chinese fashion stores.

Ready for the food bit…… found a busy Chinese restaurant in the mall, everyone sat around a big round bar with mounds of food going into bubbling pots. We sat down, the only Westerners in there to the amusement of the locals and were presented with a menu in Chinese. After much giggling the lady found us an English menu (we’ve found this is the case if you ask, same thing in KFC for example they have an English menu behind the till). The whole concept was a mystery so she helped us choose – firstly, a 'soup’ which was the bubbling stock in the pot, we went for spicy. Then a meat & veg platter, which had all sorts on it, salad, noodles, unidentifiable objects, and beef which was wafer thin strips. Some bread dumplings to top it all off. Basically, the pot bubbles away on a stove in front of you & you chuck everything in it! It was fab, the chopstick thing proved a little messy but everyone seemed in the same boat! All of that & a beer each for the equivalent of 6, and we were stuffed.

A wander back to the apartment via Jenny Lou’s, the ex-pat supermarket with the best wine, then an evening in with a bottle of red & several episodes of Alcatraz = very relaxing.


Time to be tourists at last! Off to Tianamen Square & the Forbidden City. Thought we’d try the subway, vastly improved for the Olympics & consists of 8 lines, we’re in a great position as our nearest line is a bit like the Circle & District line, and we’re also on the airport expressway. It’s only 20p per single journey – bargain!! And 2.50 for the airport link. All was very easy, machines in English too as well as the announcements & the station names, 1 change & off we got in Tianamen Square (the world’s largest public square). We didn’t spend long there, saving it for another day as it was really smoggy so not great for photos and it was incredibly busy. The best time to go is sunrise & sunset for the flag raising / lowering & the marching of the soldiers, so we’ll go back another time to see that.

Off into the Forbidden City. Called so because it was off limits to commoners for 500 years.  Less than half of it is open to visitors and it’s still huge.  Up to a million people built the city, there are many halls & palaces to explore within.  The Palace complex is China’s largest & best preserved cluster of ancient buildings housing two dynasties of emperors, the Ming & Qing.

We had a good walk around however it was far busier than when I went before in Feb 2008, and very hot so again a bit of a ‘reccie’ and go back another day to explore more (and for me to take some proper photos, henc e the few snapshots on here now!)

After visiting, we wandered around & found ourselves in the Wangfujing area – oh what a surprise, more shops!! A big pedestrianized area with lots of malls, and a bit of a Harrods department store, and lots of street bars – of course we had to stop for a beer, as you can see the litre of German beer was quite a task to drink!! Sat & watched the world go by, and found a little market, bit touristy & lots of food stalls, and as you can see – you could have scorpion on a stick & such like. Andy said he would if someone showed him how to eat them…… hmmm let’s put that to the test sometime soon!!!

Popped into one of the malls, came out & it was as if someone had switched all the lights off – really dark, raining and felt like night time. Headed home on the subway, and chilled out for a few hours before meeting our friend Alistair in our favourite bar, 1F for a few drinkies.


The rain has really cleared the smog today so the view is great from the apartment. We have guys in the apartment this morning painting, the last tenant had made quite a mess of the place so a freshen up was required. It’s not the done thing to leave them to it, so we’re just catching up on a few things whilst they re-decorate.

So, Saturday – Lou Rose & Barney got married, we hope that you guys had a lovely day and look forward to seeing some photo’s, and sorry we couldn’t be there.

PS. Just to finish off now, finally added the photos. Good to speak to Mum & Dad on Skype this evening, and fab to speak to Sarah, Myah & Sophia too - cheeky girls, kept sticking their tongue out!!! Actually, so did Andy.... children!!!!!!

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Mum and Dad on

Great having a chat to you both this morning.
Love Mum and Dad. xx

Dave and Ellie on

Really great photos.Not sure about the eats on sticks but guess you have to try anythng once!
We enjoyed the amazing Jubilee celebrations.Completely glued to the tv last weekend.Some of our friends went up to London to get a flavour of the amazing atmosphere .They are still bubbling about it.
Yesterday we were up on the South Downs watching the Marathon.Laura and Tom did really well ,great times and looked fine at the finish.Mike was in the relay.His team came second!Dave and I and Rachel and David picnicked and admired the views whilst waiting for them to pass by.Very relaxing!!
Weather here just horrid.Cold and raining at the moment.Just cooking Sunday roast.Shame we havn't any of those tasty morsels on sticks for starters.
Dave is amazed at the size of that beer.Cheers
Lots of love to you bothxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Sarah h on

So lovely to speak to you both! Sorry about the post it's and tongues getting in the way of conversation.....actually very amusing! Have a good week and hopefully catch you on Skype next weekend for our birthdays xx

Nita on

Wow, the photos all look great and it sounds like you are having a great time. Everything seems brand new in your area so must be up and coming. I liked the soundof Friday's meal out.

We are all getting really fed up of rain now and are pinning our hopes on England cheering us up tomorrow in the Euros. Georgia is finding your blogs interesting by the way so you are broadening her mind too - well done. Hope you have another good week at work.
Nita xx

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