Our new home - The Four Seasons Hotel!!!
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Yes, let's get off to a very British start by talking about the weather.....! It's currently 1 degree at 6pm, down to -7 tonight. Forecast temperatures to come of -10 at night, and a 'high' of -3 during the day on Saturday...... brrrrr...... It's a very different cold to the UK, incredibly dry, no frost like we're used to. The air humidifier is very useful right now. Everthing gives you electric shocks, and your hair goes static, and your skin dries up if you're not careful & goes all scaly, nice!!
Thankfully my lovely sister has sent me a winter pack, full of fleecy PJ's & thick slipper socks, much needed, although thankfully it's not too cold in our apartment still, still have the heating down on minimum
Let's catch up then starting with last Saturday night for the Internations bowling. A good fun night as always, starting & finishing with beers & pizza at Frank's bar, there was a charity gig going on & it was full of bikers, a raffle, and four different bands which of course we danced to later, and got them singing random requests, such as Beds are Burning by Midnight Oil!!
Sunday I went to watch our friend Gina run in the Beijing half marathon. There was also the full marathon going on too, a big race in the world marathon circuit through the city. A few of us watched Gina cross the finish line, very pleased with her time. Of course a celebratory drink & lunch afterwards was in order. Andy meanwhile was testing out the next boys & girls internations event, which is a Line 2 subway pub crawl, think of it like a Circle & District line crawl, 18 stations, a drink at each, done in teams, and different drinks earn points. So a few of the boys set off to test the route, so we're ready for the event on the 15th December.
Sadly we didn't watch the Grand Prix final that night, as it was on very late here, reading the report the next day was gripping enough, wow what an exciting race...
A normal week full of squash & bowling for Andy, now 2nd in the bowling league, a beer in Paddy's after work Weds, then on Thursday I met my friend Tracey for a long overdue catch up and a lasagne at an Italian restaurant, a few beers then on to our new favourite wine bar / shop, California Grapes. Free wine on a Thursday evening for ladies night, so we of course enjoyed that! Andy meanwhile went to a free drinks event at another bar in town, so we're getting good at sourcing the freebies!!
On Friday, the British Club had a stall at the British Embassy Christmas Bazaar, which was invite only through the British Club, it was at the Ambassador's residence in the grounds of the British Embassy, and was very nice! Fish & chips, mulled wine, and some nice stalls. We went for a couple of hours for a wander around, all in the name of 'networking' of course!
After our wonderful free stay at the Four Season's Hotel, our very lovely friend invited us back there for a cocktail reception celebrating the gradual opening of the hotel. We didn't really know what to expect, we were able to take a few friends, so arrived at 6pm for cocktails and entertainment, such as a fortune teller, who after picking 3 cards, in Chinese with a girl translating for me, told me I was full of wisdom, going to be a sucessful business woman, and have 2 children!!!
Saturday we worked all day (see, we do also work sometimes!!), at the Beijing City International School Bazaar (BCIS), who were supporting the Migrant Childrens Foundation, who we volunteered with before. Our compnay sponsored our table, and some raffle prizes, and prizes for a competition for us to raise money, and we raised it by filling a glass jar full of sweets, and you had to guess how many were in there. You can join in too, I'll put a photo on & add your guesses to the comments!! We raised 88 pounds from doing that, which was great. A really good day, getting our faces known too and promoting Gilt Edge. We were shattered afterwards though, being nice to people all day, chatting & smiling!! A much needed drink afterwards at Californian Grapes, free flow wine for a tenner all evening, then went to an Irish sports bar to watch the rugby, Andy multi tasked (I didn't think men could do that....!) & watched Everton on the other TV screen as well. A great win for England against NZ & a great atmosphere in the bar. Everton drew 1-1 against Man City.
Sunday was a very chilled out affair after our massage, lunch with a few friends and a wander around town. The shopping centre has lots of pretty Christmas lights now, and many of the stores & big hotels have Christmas trees & decorations, even though Christmas isn't celebrated here & is just a normal day
Monday was another meeting for me, a 2nd one, and guess what....... I signed my next deal! Very happy, a really lovely girl, a school teacher, same age, fellow redhead & we really hit it off - so came home at 8.30pm after the appointment very happy (see, proof that we really do work, weekends and late into the evening too!!).
Today was the British Club Christmas lunch at the Capital Club, 65 lovely ladies that lunch, 3 courses, roast turkey and all very nice. We had to go to the Visa Office first thing, then lunch, so I thought I should really put in an appearance at work this afternoon!! Chilling out tonight, Andy off to bowling soon.
Looking at the new ex pat magazines today for Christmas day dinners - there are a few at some of the hotels & restaurants in town, so we'll start having a think about what to do. Most ex pats go home, and it's a normal working day for the locals, so it will be weird. Just need to make it something nice for us, and a few others who are still here for the holidays. Will be strange though, especialy after last year Andy cooking a lovely dinner for us Neville's
We were thinking about going to Harbin for New Year, which has an amazing snow & ice festival, but the price is creeping up more & more, and is further away than we realised so we may end up staying in Beijing. There isn't the NY celebrations you get back in the UK or elsewhere around the world, it's all saved for the Chinese NY which is in February next year, but there are still plenty of things going on, we just need to make a decision really.
Right, hope you're all getting ready for Christmas & looking forward to the X Factor final, a true sign that Chrismas is here!!
Be back soon!!