Dragon Boat Festival

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Flag of China  ,
Friday, June 22, 2012

A lovely long weekend, bank holiday today for the Dragon Boat Festival which is celebrated on the fifth day of the fifth month according to the Chinese calendar. For thousands of years, the festival has been marked by eating zong zi (rice wrapped to form a pyramid using bamboo or reed leaves) and racing dragon boats. It commemorates the death of Qu Yuan, a popular minister who is said to have committed suicide by drowning himself in a river. On lookers threw the rice pyramids into the water to stop the fish from eating his body.

Sadly due to the lack of coastline or rivers in Beijing, there was no dragon boat racing. They do race elsewhere, Shanghai for example, and Hong Kong. We did go to the water today, to the lakes but it was mainly tourist boats & pedaloes!! Not quite the same.

A fab day though, got the subway to the lakes,  then wandered passing the Drum & Bell Towers, built in 1271 to mark the centre of the old Mongol capital. You can go in & visit, and climb the towers but it was very smoggy today (despite the downpour last night) so we'll save it for a clearer day. We kept walking to the lakes, there are about 5 that connect, and are passed by small bridges. They are surrounded by bars, restaurants, roof terraces, and hutongs with tourist shops. A great place to wander and full of people out for the bank holiday, we wandered along some of the quieter hutongs too, to see some local life. It was buzzing with people, rickshaws & bycicles - oh, and stupid trolley tours full of Japanese tourists with massive cameras...... yep, I'm stereotyping!!!

Even the McDonalds & Starbucks here were tasteful, well, kind of.....!!! And no, we didn't!! Had a couple of beer stops on such a hot day, equivalent of 2 each in one bar, and the next 4 each for a smaller bottle, but it's like anywhere, you pick the nicest spot overlooking the water & it's more expensive. Wandering back, we found a good bar, cheap & cheerful where we had a beer each, Andy had burger & chips, I had a salad - all for under 8, the price of our 2 beers at the previous bar! Lessons we learn.....

Back home after that, and spoke to Colleen!! At last, spoke on our new phone number - a reminder, ring from a landline or mobile and if we're logged on we can talk for the cost of a local call to you, free for us, if not leave a message & say hi!! 02392 160779. Brilliant speaking to you Colleen, sounded like you were down the road - miss you xxx Just msg Sarah Hobday on her new i-pad too on the train back from London, and updating this at the same time as Mum & Dad had put a msg on from Greece, technology hey, cool.

Andy has gone out to a networking evening at a hotel which he's enjoying, so what does a girl do on a Friday night? Yep, she goes shopping! All the malls are open really late, and I needed some shoes, I do actually NEED shoes, had a shoe disaster with the sole falling off my most worn shoes after getting so wet in the rain last night. Didn't find any though, so back home chilling out now.

To the Meon girls, I know you were going to have a hot tub night & try Skyping, but believe it's been cancelled - phew, I don't have to get up at 3am to speak you all now ;) another time hopefully.

Anyway, that's me done for now - have a good weekend everyone, and who's at / going to the IOW festival? We hear the weather has been a bit of a disaster for it so far.......

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Lou W on

Wot no primani shoes!!?? x

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