National Holiday = 1 week off!

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Flag of China  ,
Friday, September 28, 2012

Good evening,

Here we are, reporting from Beijing (we still need to pinch ourselves sometimes sat here looking out the window, reminding ourselves that we do in fact, live in China, in Beijing..... actually!) and we are enjoying some crips & some cheese (an expensive luxury here), listening to Coldplay, watching the sun set and drinking a very nice bottle of red wine.

What I hear you say are you doing staying in on a Friday night?! Well, we've had a busy few days / nights so are starting the National Holiday in a relaxing fashion.

Yes, we have a week off - heaven. Why? Because it's the mid Autumn Festival which is also known as Moon Festival, it's marked by eating mooncakes (not tried any yet, apparantley they aren't very nice!!), and more importantly gathering together with relatives for family re-unions. It's an important holiday for lovers, and in some parts of China matchmaking, where dances are held for young men & women to find partners. Also symbolised by bright lanterns & floating lanterns, and burning incense. So this weekend, the public transport networks are gridlocked with everyone trying to get back to their home towns to be with their families. The holiday is usually 3 days, but traditionally Chinese work the weekend before so that they can have condensed time off for the whole of the following week. It also co-incides with National Day, on the 1st October. In 1949, the Peoples Republic of China was founded on the 1st October, with a ceremony in Tiananmen square. The week is also known as 'Golden week' where the Chinese spend time with family & spend their hard earned money on enjoying theirselves during the holidays.

Another part of the moon festival is as you'd imagine, gazing at the full Autumn moon. The fact that all the factories shut down for the holidays, means that there is no pollution so you can in fact, unusually...... see the moon! There have been unusually high winds today which has blown it all away anyway, so the sky is amazingly blue & clear. I've just been up to floor 26 with my camera as it's so beautiful to photograph the sunset, and can see the mountains all around Beijing. The week ahead is set to sunny days of around 25 degrees, so look to be very pleasant.

So the week gone by consisted of Andy bowling on Tues, me chilling out at home catching up on Facebook which is lovely to have back and to see what you've all been up to! Wednesday we thought we'd give the Paddy's quiz night a go as we hadn't been for a while, it was a great night, 4 of us in the team, our friend Barry, and another friend Tracey. We still came near the bottom, oh well, it's the taking part that counts!!

The internet at work had been gradually getting slower & slower particularly in the afternoon, so we called in the repair man & the boss decided that we needed some 'training' and a good location for that would be Brussels bar, as it had a pool table. Ok we said, you've twisted our arms.....! I actually beat Andy at one game of pool, but after 3 games it was 2-1 to him. Steve was far too good for both of us but again, it's the taking part! The afternoon turned into the evening, and we'd forgotten but the charity, the Migrant Children's Foundation who we volunteered with at the school a few weeks ago, had their monthly quiz in there. So we saw a few familiar faces and got roped into the quiz! Well, I did really, Andy & the boys decided it wasn't for them so went elsewhere whilst I provided some of my 1990's knowledge to help our team come 3rd in the quiz! We left at midnight, that was longer than a day at work.... a slight stagger home & a pit stop at '2 guys & a pie' shop for yes, a pie and made it home. All a little jaded in the office this morning, the boss flew back to Bangkok, and is back in another 3 weeks, ok - time to recover!

Randomly today, we went for lunch in a great cafe that's in the local Volkswagen garage, they are a huge employer here & a block down from us there is a showroom & 4 floors of VW offices, so we sat having lunch drooling over a Bugatti Veyronin the showroom, next to a Ferrrai, like you do.... oh yeah!!

Next week we plan to relax, explore a bit more of Beijing enjoying the blue skies & sunshine, and some more sightseeing. A few birthdays next week, so happy birthday to Mum / Mum-in-law for Tuesday, 21 again Barbara?!!! Enjoy your holidays too. Rob on Monday, happy birthday old man ;), Dean on Tues & your lovely wife Tamsin on Wednesday, and lastly Debbie on Thursday (see, I didn't forget yours ;) !!!! Hils, hope you had a lovely birthday last week too. Laura if you're reading this, then happy birthday for today too xx

Chantelle, hopefully you'll read this sometime, but we really hope that your move went well on Wednesday, and that the Ikea furniture you put up is still standing!!! Really pleased for you & we miss you loads xx

Mum & Dad, Ireland sounds fab, Lou, keep drinking the Mythos, it will help the Greek economy!!
Colleen, glad you're home where you should be too, and still thinking about you xx

Right everyone, have a lovely weekend & we'll report more in the week. Don't forget, ring or skype it would be great to hear from you.

Lots of love,
Tracy & Andy

Later on that night........

You know when you've had too much pizza when..... you walk in your new local pizza takeaway & the Italian girl looks at you, says hi & 'ah, let me guess, spicy pizza?', oops!! yum yum yum

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Sal on

We were told about the Moon Festival when we were in Chinatown, London on Saturday. And yes, they had lots of lanterns up everywhere! Sorry to say that the Chinese meal we ate wasnt very good and probably not a patch on what you guys are getting used to eating. Enjoy your week off xx

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