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Had quite a big storm yesterday afternoon, it seems to rain & clear the pollution, a few blue sky days, then the pollution builds up, it gets hotter then another storm. Today has been much fresher. Popped home after work last night for a quite bite, and tried some local dim sum / dumplings from the supermarket, they had some sort of spicy beef inside and were lovely.
I then went out to a 'ladies after work' networking event, put on by the British chamber, along with the Swedish, Danish & a few other chambers in a lovely hotel bar about 20 mins walk from our place so no need for a repeat rickshaw / taxi experience!!! Lots of people there and a free sangria to start the evening off. Got talking to a couple of German girls, a swedish lady who lives in our compound but is moving back to Sweden next month which is a shame, another swede who's husband works at the embassy, a Kiwi working for one of the schools, and an Irish lady who is a clinic manager for a new hospital. Lots of interesting conversations, and more discussion rather than last weeks where people want to thrust their business card at you, talk at you about what they do & move onto the next person. A very enjoyable evening. Andy had a chilled night in & watched a DVD. I walked back on my own in the dark, (Andy did offer to meet me just so you don't think he abandoned me!!) as it's so safe here, well lit, lots of people around - it felt really good. There is very little in the way of trouble here, you may get some verbal arguements between locals although we haven't seen any yet, and the penalties are high for violence, and extremely high for violence against foreigners.
Even on the roads in any other country it would be road rage every few minutes, the beeping of the horn & cutting people up seems to be taken in good humour!! It's just the norm really.
Walking home alone is no problem, the scariest thing here is crossing the road to be honest!!!!
I've noticed far less bycicles than 4 years ago (Katie Melua got it all wrong, there are no longer 9 million bycicles in Beijing!!), there are still loads though & many now are electric bikes & scooters, and electric rickshaws.......! Apparantley 1500 new cars take to the road each day here, so no wonder rush hours are gridlocked. With a population of just over 20 million people, sure this will just get worse. There is a system in place where cars with certain registration numbers are banned on various days of the week, for example Ray's driver is not allowed to drive on a Tues or a Fri. What a lot of the locals do is just take the number plates off....... surely that just draws more attention?!?! This is in an effort to reduce the polution levels.
Out of interest, there are approx 120,000 ex pats here amongst that population. So, a lot to meet!!! Approx 70,000 of those would be 'prospects' as far as our industry is concerned. Also finding it to be quite a small world as well, suprisingly, and probably bump into similar people at various events.
Another fact for you (and for our younger readers learning about China, hello Georgia!), a lot of Chinese people plan when to have a baby, and to have a baby that is born in the year of the Dragon is considered very lucky which is this year, so there is a baby boom this year.
A good day in the office today, bit more training with Ray which was good. And it's nearly Friday again.
Well, we've been here 3 weeks today & time has flown by.....
Catch up more tomorrow, hopefully from the internet at home.