Pearl Of a Day

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Flag of China  ,
Sunday, July 8, 2012

A few more touristy bits ticked off the list on Saturday.

Subway to the Hongqiao Market - which is the Pearl Market, another big 5 floor building full of clothes, shoes, handbags, and most of all - pearls, 4th floor is the cheaper stuff, 5th floor is the real thing. A cheap trip, with me coming away with a pair of sunglasses & no jewels....... :(

A coffee stop outside the market at the fake Starbucks (logo & colours exactly the same) and it was the best coffee yet, bonus was that they sold beer too, so AJP the non-coffee drinker was very happy.

A walk to Quanmen Dajie, which was opened around the Olympics, a pedestrianised shopping & eating area restored to resemble a late Qing Dynasty street scene, leading South from Tiananmen Square, entrance via a beautiful decorative Qianmen Arch. A bit bizarre as they had a couple of trams running along the street, so for a moment we thought we were back in San Francisco!!

It was great, as many of the small streets & alleyways that criss crossed the main street were real local streets full of stores, eateries, bikes & chaos! The closer to the Square you got, the more touristy it was, with market & food stalls, you'll see on the photo's below there were some beautiful buildings, so colourful & decorative, a real pleasure to walk along.

We found a Chinese restaurant with a menu with English on & pictures, and enjoyed some fab dumplings, also ordered fried cakes (with the savoury section in the menu) and they were actually fried cakes, like the heaviest jam donuts you have ever seen and quite horrible - not what we were expecting! Another lesson learnt!!

A walk through Tiananmen Square rounded off our sightseeing, very busy - and quite surreal, cameras everywhere on lamposts a few metres apart from each other, about 20 cameras on each, more guards than anywhere else, security checks & bag scans to get in, and more under cover guards in there than anywhere, making sure there is no trouble there, no talk of it's history, no potentia protests and checking that the tour guides aren't talking of it too, quite surreal really to be there & imagine what happened in 1989. Anyway, enough said on here as everything gets scanned by a massive warehouse staffed by thousands of people in another city, a VERY big version of the IT Police!!

Mr Feather, you'll be pleased to know that we found the China Railway Museum just off the square - piccie below, sure we'll be in there soon to keep Mr P happy ;)

Back home to chill before going bowling in the evening, a group set up by the Internations group we're part of, Andy & another guy have been trying to get a group of us together, so we went to a hotel about 20 min taxi ride away and there was a good turnout, about 20 of us. 4 of us played together, a Swiss guy who was good fun, he & Andy got quite competetive (Andy won and will be happy to share his scores with you should you ask!!) I played like a girl & lost all 3 games!! The other guy, Barry has only been here for 4 weeks, from Australia & on chatting more, turns out we live in the same compound!! And he works in the block across the road from us working with radio stations across China, small world! We all got on really well & had a laugh, then afterwards went across the road to 'Franks Bar' which we'd heard lots about, a sports bar owned by the guy we met at the cricket who's invited us up to his ranch to go horse riding. Food & a few beers, we were done.

Another Internations get together today, Sunday brunch - they've arranged 4 during July & August, was supposed to be 20 but there were only 8 of us, which was good in the end as we all got to know each other far better. It was at the very lovely Ritz Carlton Hotel where we'd been for the garden party, in a fab restaurant, approx 30 for 3 courses, it was Italian so started off with bread sticks, then lovely Focaccia with olive oil & balsamic, big plate of antipasti, then risotto & pasta of your choice, followed by more if you wanted it - the flavours were amazing & it was all delicious. Puddings..... wow.... tiramisu, chocolate brownie etc. Finished off with coffee & delicious chocolates. And the best bit, free flowing red or white wine - HEAVEN!!!! Sat there eating & drinking from 1130 until 1530, made the most of it of course! Met some lovely people again, from France, Canada, Italy, Mongolia - and the couple who organise the Beijing events are from Columbia & Romania - get this, they are getting married in September, so they live in Beijing, getting married in Athens, from different countries, different religions, the paperwork side has been a struggle!!! An inspiring story. One thing we've so enjoyed about meeting so many people from different countries is their stories, it really does open up your eyes to people's adventures & experiences, and realise how exciting what we're doing is, and it's great to be part of it.

Anyway, fingers crossed later for Andy Murray, and for the Brit boys at Silverstone too - we will be watching both.

Welcome to Pam & Tina, our newest readers, Tina - good going, and we hope you had a big glass of wine in hand at the time!!!

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Lou W on

Now you are talking my language with Pearls!! and I cannot believe you didnt buy any!! Any sign of my CC yet?!! Love the pictures today and I bet the change of food in the Italian was a lovely change from chinese!! Still have you found anywhere that you can go and do an English!! xx

Tina on

i'd like to say i had a nice bottle of wine or even a glass but ive been so naughty with my diet and put on 1 1/2lb so was not happy.. so had some very refreshing water lol mind u saying that i probably wouldnt be able to read the last few blogs if i was drinking after 4.5 hrs hahaha

ur pictures make u feel ur there (meaning me not u because u are) lol xx

Sal on

Really enjoying your pictures guys. But do you still have to pinch yourselves occasionally? Working in a place as beautiful and colourful as there, must think you are still on holidays! You both seem so settled already, well done :-) xx

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