Tracy trying hard not to make plans........!

Trip Start Unknown
Trip End Ongoing

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Sunday, October 7, 2012

Ok, so we left off from describing our day with the masses after finally getting to the Summer Palace, 125,000 visitors that day apparantley. Just been Skyping with Mum & Dad & they showed us an article & some photo's of the Great Wall from this holiday week, absolutely heaving with visitors. Our next tourist moment was at the Temple of Heaven, also very busy - when texting a friend about our day, predictive text changed it the Temple of Heaving, which was in fact far more appropriate!!!

So Thursday morning, Tracy does the 'oh I don't mind what we do' thing, making out that I didn't have any plans (ha ha ha.....!) and promised Andy that he could buy a remote control helicopter which he's been wanting ever since the Romsey show last Christmas. Off we go to the Pearl Market, as there is a toy market behind and the Temple of Heaven opposite (yes, you can see my 'non' planning!). We walked straight into a flying helicopter, a bit of haggling & got one for a tenner. Only a little one, we will go back for an upgrade another day for a big one, which are only around 30 quid. Helicopter flying lessons only last about 10 mins until it needs charging again, and we're not quite up to flying it out of the 11th floor yet but getting there!

Andy happy, I managed to negotiate a pair of Converse baseball boots for myself (Colleen, you'd be proud!!) a tenner for the genuine article, yeah right.......

Both happy, we wander across to the Temple of 'Heaving' which was lovely in fact, much of it a park, then various Temple buildings. It is a series of religious buildings and used to be visited by Emperors from the Ming & Qing dynasties for annual ceremonies of prayer to heaven for a good harvest. We explored with the masses, a beautiful place for sure with lots of areas to walk around, and a stone on one of the altars where you can communicate with heaven, everyone was trying to stand on said stone, so as you can imagine there was lots of pushing & shoving!!

In the evening we met a couple of friends that we've met over time at Internations events and were planning on dinner at a fab Vietnamese restaurant, sadly it was closed for the holidays so we wandered & found a great Chinese - ordered loads of food & beer, and it came to 6 quid a head, bargain! Tried a few new bars that we'd read about hidden away in the Hutongs, one of them called Modernista, a cool bar with a band, and an absinthe menu, with around 30 different kinds....... no, we didn't try any!!! And just remembering trying it before at Vinopolis still makes me shudder hey sis!!! After that we all went to Bed together......... no, not like that!!! A tapas bar called Bed, and as you'd imagine, has lots of Moroccan / Thai style seating on beds with low tables, a really cool place that we'll definitely go back to. A great evening, and all had a really good laugh. What made it easier too is that one of them had a driver, so we were chauffered around which was rather nice!

Friday was a lazy morning and a wander locally into Sanlitun in search of lunch, bumped into our friend Andrew who lives in our complex, and headed to our usual First Floor bar for food & beer. A bit of a shop after then met a few others back at the bar. Our evening plans were cancelled as our friend was poorly, so ended up eating with the afternoon gang. A cool impromptu night (see, that's what happens when you don't plan anything!!!) with a real mixed group, Brits, Welsh, Mongolian, Chinese, Malaysian & Norwegian! After eating, we all went to a cool hotel bar which is really popular, having a great band who sing there. Entrance included a glass of Moet, we managed to blag two each - a bit of a boogie then home to bed.

We've seen a micro brewery advertised in the magazines which we hadn't got around to trying yet, so decided to go yesterday as it was their 2nd anniversary party. Another hidden in a hutong type place with a lovely courtyard, we were there at lunchtime & it just got busier & busier, caught up with a few people we knew there too & tried various different ales. One of them was 11%!!! The sort that at a UK beer festival they'd only give you in half pint measures, not here no.....!! Andy tried one, I thought I best not!! Think we'd have happily stayed there all afternoon & evening, but we had plans, so came home to change for the evening.

A guy we've met a few times with his girlfriend, have set up a pop up restaurant business, I'd not heard of the concept before but it's popular in a few different countries, they announce a date then a few days later the location. This one was in the 798 Art district where we went on Monday for a look around, and was announced on Thursday to be in one of the art spaces there. It was a 3 course British menu & sounded really good fun. This was their 3rd event which run once a month.

We arrived to a great location, with tables set for 36 people. Pimms & canapes on arrival, we got chatting to a few people before sitting down for dinner, a 'fish & chip' starter, Beef Wellington for main, and sticky toffee pudding for after, the chocolate & coffee, and plenty of wine too. It was lovely and a really fun concept. We ended up sitting with the owners of the gallery amongst other people, the building was originally a Bauhaus designed factory, then turned into a private home, before it's current use of a new media art gallery hosting various events & exhibitions. The owner still lives there, you'll see in the photos how amazing the place is, and even has a first floor swimming pool, well - more like a swimming lane really!! The exhibition was a selection of art by children from Beijing with autism, and you could buy framed prints of the artwork, we bought one which we fell in love with. A really interesting evening & felt quite priveliged to be a part of it.

Home at 2am, so needless to say today has been lazy. Went to watch the grand prix, but little miss organised had failed her task & got the times wrong, so we missed the first hour..... dowh.... so that's it, I'm not allowed to be in charge of ANY plans from now on!!!!

So it's Sunday night, back to work & back to normal tomorrow :(
It's been a great week off and have really enjoyed exploring Beijing more.

A few shout outs, Sarah I hope Friday went ok for you all xx
Tanya, lots of love to you, so sad to hear you lost your Mum so suddenly xx

Hearing in the last few weeks that 2 of my closest friends have lost parents really makes you think, and we've found ourselves missing our family & friends so much right now, that it was really nice speaking to Mum & Dad tonight, and to Andy's Dad too xx

Dave Daniels, if you're really bored in hospital you may end up reading this, wish you all the best and admire your courage xx
Chantelle, hope you've settled into your new place now and fantastic news about your new job, well done xx
Barbara, hope you enjoyed your holiday xx
Ian, well done in passing your exams for your new job - so pleased for you xx

Right, one last thing before going to bed - toilets. I'll leave you with a choice, answers on a postcard please...... you're in a restaurant, a squat toilet cubicle with a door, or a western toilet cubicle without a door?????

On that note, good night all!!


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Dad and Mum on

Nice catching up with you also! xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Dave and Ellie on

Wow big catch up on the blogs!glad you are both well and having such an amazing time.The pictures are really lovely and good to read all about your days out .The buildings are all so beautiful.Love the flower market also and the shopping mals look good.The swimming lane looks fun!
We are all well here.Had a good holiday in Wales.Lots of walking.We returned the weekend after to see Mike take part in The Ironman wales.It was a brilliant weekend.Mike finished in13hrs 18 mins.There were nearly 1500 competitors.Quite a site seeing them all doing the swim in the sea.A Frenchman won in just under 9 hours!!
Rachel and Polly are both doing well ! Very exciting time coming up.
The weather here has been pretty damp since for ever and now the chill is in.It is hard to believe the year has gone so quickly but then I suppose we have been quite busy!
Dave is listening to Pompey at mo.3-1 down I'm afraid.He is going to Fratton park on Sat.Lets hope they win.
Have a sporting weekend coming up.We are off to Goodwood races on sunday.It is the last meeting this year.
Up to date with blogs now .Sorry not to be in touch for so long.Will keep up now!
Lots of love Dave and Elliexxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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