Where has the last month gone?!
Trip Start Unknown
89Trip End Ongoing
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
No, we haven't given up with the blog, just not as regular as we were this time last year! Life feels a bit more 'normal’ sometimes, and less exciting things to report. Life is still good of course, but not full of the stories we had when we first got here.
We last wrote from the train, coming home from a great weekend in Qingdao by the sea, we arrived back in Beijing to the usual chaos of our city!
W/C 17th June
The annual British Chamber garden party took place at the swanky Ritz Carlton hotel, a nice evening apart from the rain, but we managed to get back outside for food when the rain stopped, last year we met so many new people and some good contacts, but now we know so many people that you just end up talking to them, rather than meeting lots of new faces
A belated birthday celebration with friends on the Friday night for Andy, 42 people at the Purple Haze Thai restaurant, a fab meal, £20 each, 4 courses + free flow drinks and lots of fun. Afterwards we hit a really nice cocktail bar for some long island iced teas and some dancing. The following day we went to the Craft Beer Festival, it’s 2nd year and a great success, with various breweries from over China showcasing their beer. That evening, it was Andy’s bowling club presentation dinner for that season, Andy’s team had come first, so he got a team award, as well as a personal award – more ornaments for our apartment! The dinner was all paid for from the subs throughout the season, sadly only a few of turned up, and we were lucky to enjoy an amazing Chinese meal and plenty of beer.
W/C 24th June
A busy week for me, preparing for a presentation. I was asked by the women’s networking group, Viva, to do a presentation on finance. It was for an hour, 40 mins to present, 20 mins for questions. I was so nervous, I’m used to standing up in front of people and did it every day in the UK, but was out of practice and talking about a relatively new subject
Thursday was quiz night, I actually took part for a change – ended up on a winning team, no, I didn’t cheat, I was just with some clever people!! It was nice taking part instead of reading the questions which I usually do.
Friday evening it was back to the Ritz Carlton for an Internations event, another garden party where it rained!
Saturday, I went out for the day with Tracey to the Fragrant Hills. About 40 mins on the subway, then the same again on a bus, and we arrived. A beautiful area of hills and forests, with the peak at 557 metres. There are several pavilions and temples dotted around the hills to explore, as well as cable cars up each side
Andy on the other hand had been out with lots of friends to an afternoon on a rooftop terrace for a Catalan Festival having much fun, but more alcohol involved than my day!!
Sunday we enjoyed watching the British Grand Prix on the TV, seeing a perfect blue sky, a typical British summers day
W/C 1st July
Sadly on Tuesday I said goodbye to my good friend Tracey, who I’ve known most of the time I’ve been here – through an internations e-mail to say hi, we became really good friends, and enjoyed catching up over coffee, or going out for the day exploring, getting on a bus, ending up somewhere completely different, that kind of thing!! We met for dinner and promised to not actually say goodbye & get upset, just ‘see ya later’, which we will, she may come back to Beijing for a week in October, and perhaps back to work again in January, depends on what happens back in the UK, so fingers crossed…..
I had a few good work appointments this week as a result of the Viva presentation which was good, we’ve both had a few evening & weekend appointments too, so all going well.
Thursday Ray from work took us to the Capital Club, as we walked there a storm was brewing and rain about to hit us, so once we got up there on the 50th floor the views were pretty dramatic, seeing the lightening in the distance
Friday night more goodbyes sadly, Dan & Charlie, good friends who we’ve also known since the early days, have just moved to Shanghai, so a group of us met at Heaven Supermarket. Let me paint the picture, Heaven and Supermarket are not usually 2 words that you’d put together, it’s a big shop, with chairs & tables, where you can buy pretty much any alcoholic beverage you can think of, from Pimms, to a bottle of Veuve Cliquot, to bottles of Youngs double chocolate stout! My tipple of the night was Pimms, and the stout. In the summer people spill out onto the streets, sat at tables drinking a variety of drinks with mixers, and plates of nachos, bbq skewers etc. well into the small hours. Cheap and cheerful, heavenly? Perhaps not!!! Good luck to you both in Shanghai Dan & Charlie, and we’ll be down to visit soon
Saturday the Migrant Children Foundation had a photography exhibition called ’24 hours’ at a local restaurant, a lovely afternoon, a media teacher taught the migrant children how to use cameras which had been donated to the project, and asked them to document 24 hours of their life The results of which were in the exhibition. I’ve put a blog on the website so here is the link rather than repeating it here:
After that we headed to our local Irish bar to watch the rugby, and later on watched the Beijing Beatles again play at a bar.
Sunday we wanted to escape the town, so we headed North to the Olympic Forest Park, which is just along from the Olympic stadium. We had a good walk, although it was sticky & hot, so a bit hard work, walked through the woods, around the lakes, fake waterfalls, that kind of thing.
That evening, friends of ours invited us round for a Sunday roast, wow what a treat!
W/C 8th July
Quite a few work meetings this week, and a return to a networking group that we went to a lot when we first arrived. A nice evening at the Hilton, and met a few new faces.
We went to an Internations event on the Friday at the Fairmont Hotel, a nice evening – then afterwards we joined friends in town to say farewell to Jacob, a Danish guy who’d been in Beijing for 6 months or so, lots of people, and signs of a drunken late night, luckily or unluckily depends on how you look at it, Andy had an appointment booked for Saturday morning, so we headed home before it got too messy!
Saturday afternoon we went to a BBQ at a friend’s house, Mike who lives in Shunyi which is the suburb out towards the airport, around a 40 min drive on a good day, and it’s where all the villa complexes are and big international schools
Sunday Andy hosted another Internations go karting event which was good fun, I seem to be getting worse & losing my confidence, and there were a lot of competitive guys there this time! Good fun, pre & post karting drinks & food at Franks bar completed the day
An informal British Club coffee morning yesterday at a café in town, during the summer we don’t host the main events during the summer as a lot of people go away, but there was still a good attendance. Last night we met a few friends at Enoterra, a new place for us – a bar with a lovely rooftop terrace. After much rain lately, the sun shone yesterday and a breeze kept the pollution at bay, and we enjoyed the most beautiful blue skies. 2 4 1 on wine, we just had to make the most of it!
So the weekend brings my Birthday, Friday I will turn 42. Happy Birthday to Chantelle for tomorrow, the 18 Julyth – hope you have a lovely day.
We won a £100 voucher a while ago for a post restaurant, Brasserie Flo, so we are having dinner there Friday evening which will be nice. I doubt that work will feature much during the day, so after checking e-mails we’ll head out somewhere, depending on the weather. There are a lot of birthdays this month, so myself and 7 friends are having a big birthday party to celebrate which is on Saturday night. We have hired the Bali Bar, which is a 7th floor roof terrace bar with water features, and a bar which looks like something you’d find on a Bali beach, very nice! We have 2 friends who are both DJ’s playing for us too, a BBQ on offer, and currently 160 people coming.
2 weeks on Friday until I come back to the UK, lots planned in already & the diary getting very booked up, I must find time to relax & enjoy the clear air, the countryside and the sea as well, three things I miss most!
Just realised whilst writing this over the last few days, it’s actually a month since we last wrote! Oops!!! Better get it posted!