Santa's Line 2 pub crawl!

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Tuesday, December 18, 2012


Hello,

Well, only 1 week to go until Christmas - wow.....!! Have to say, it doesn't feel like it! Perhaps that's because we haven't had to do any Christmas shopping, get any 'Christmas' food in, and for the first time ever, no Christmas tree..... :(
well, apart from the 2 tiny ones we brought back from the bazaar with us!

It's weird, not for Andy really as he's used to being away from home, but I’m really struggling at the moment & missing everything & everyone. I’m sure if we were back home I’d be moaning & racing around trying to shop, get cards posted, trying to drink as much mulled wine as possible (at least there is plenty of that here!!). Funny how much Christmas stuff there is around, more & more decorations appearing, in our compound today, lights in the trees, trees in the lobby, a display at the entrance, and most shops are playing Christmas music. We have 4 Christmas cards, the latest 2 being from Dave & Ellie, and Steve & Roswhita – thank you very much, they mean all the more being so far away from home (and no Sarah, that’s not supposed to make you feel bad for just confessing ours is still in Martin’s van!!!!!)

Plans so far for Christmas include a dinner on Christmas Eve, at the Bookworm restaurant – most of the dinners advertised include mash potatoes, this one is roast potatoes, so for that alone, we are IN!!! It’s a good deal, 20 quid for 3 courses & a glass of sparkling wine. Getting a group of us together for Christmas day at the moment, looks like 9 of us will go to a restaurant, a similar deal, 4 courses 22 quid so not too bad, plus drinks on top. The day is totally normal here, all the locals are working & if we were working for a Chinese company we would be too. The bonus is that meals are not over the top expensive, as they’re not paying people loads to be working, and most ex pats have gone home for the holidays, so won’t be too many of us about! We’re pretty lucky really at work, we finish Friday and go back on the 2nd Jan, getting the British hols & the Chinese hols too! As everything is business as usual, we may chill out in the morning & go for a massage. Try & survive the day without getting too drunk ready to come home after dinner & Skype home!!

So last week, the usual for Andy bowling on Tuesday, and tonight – their team has finished 2nd in the league which is fab, and they’ve been invited to a competition on Saturday night too. Wednesday Andy wanted to get a hat he’d seen on the Ted Baker website, the first Ted Baker in Beijing has recently opened so off we went to explore, coming out with a fab 'flaps down’ hat, photo’s below!! Luckily nothing else, but it was tempting for both of us!! We were near to a Texan bar we’d seen before so thought it rude not to pop in for a beer, a very nice bar / restaurant indeed, very cosy and bargain beer on happy hour.

Thursday evening Andy met his friend Al for a drink, and I met Tracey again, went to our favourite Italian, and I had taco’s which were really greasy & oily, didn’t go down too well. Californian grapes after for free wine on ladies night, which I couldn’t drink, and ended up having to go home ill… Andy & Al joined us so luckily Andy walked me home (in the snow, had a few centimetres) and I was rather sick, and during the night too. Wiped out on Friday so stayed in bed, and stayed in Friday night too. Andy met a few friends in town for dinner, whilst I watched a DVD.

Saturday was the big Internations Santa’s line 2 pub crawl, 18 stops on the subway system, visiting various bars along the way, 18 in fact….. Andy & Bruce the organisers of the mens group had checked out the route a few weeks ago, and I was the organiser of the womens group, we had around 40 people on & off for the day which was a fab turn out. I dragged myself out of bed for it, meeting for breakfast at 10am at a restaurant near us, but somehow managed to survive the day only drinking water (with re-hydration salts!!) and herbal tea, no food, no alcohol……. It was an amazing day, we all wore Santa hats, and the most entertaining thing was watching everyone else’s reactions!! We sang carols on the subway, at various locations, along the street, in the restaurants and in the more touristy areas around Tiananmen square got photographed A LOT and videoed!!!! It was so funny, the looks of amusement on their faces! Some places were proper bars, others little kiosks, restaurants, real local cafes, and a couple of convenience store stops. All were close to the subway stop, however the majority of the subways don’t have escalators, or if they do it’s only one way, so there were a lot of stairs to climb, ending the day shattered & suffering aching legs for a few days!! Our final stop was our local, Paddy’s where the survivors gathered for the evening!! We bailed out around 10.30pm, 1 drunk, 1 sober…..!!! One of the bars wanted to call itself the hangover bar, but there is no word for it in Mandarin, so the literal translation is the ‘After Drunk’ bar, which I think is quite cool!!!

Sunday was of course a lazy affair, totally shattered, I’m still only eating toast, upgraded to soup yesterday so am getting better but just no appetite still. Popped out into town to stock up on DVD’s, and grab a healthy smoothie, it was so cold we headed home for the afternoon for a couple of films & to chill out.

Andy had more acupuncture last night, more big thick needles…… I’m administering sometimes too but only the thin ones that don’t hurt so much ;)

Whilst the guy was here, I’d been struggling to try to get i-tunes to work properly, and he told me that via baidu.com which is China’s version of google (google & China do not get on….!) and you can click on a music tab, like you would maps for example, and type in pretty much anything & you can download music for free, and totally legal. How cool is that. Needless to say we’ve been updating our music library, as we play the i-pod so much without a decent radio station or decent tv, that we’re a little bored after 7 months!

Hoping to speak to Mum tonight, Skype has been pretty rubbish quality at the moment, so hope it’s ok for now & Christmas day. If anyone wants to say happy Christmas we’ll be on line at some stage! Spoke to Sarah Hobday the other evening which was lovely too, and Ian as well – good to hear from you all.

Weekend temperatures set to go down to -17 at night…. flippin eck… have no idea what that will actually feel like!!! The weekend was really grey & snowy, but last 2 days very clear, and very cold. More snow forecast for Thursday. The trouble is, it gets swept aside very efficiently, and left in piles, but never melts as it stays so cold!! Reckon it will be here until the Spring!

Ah yes, work (we are still doing some, honest!!) Andy has just signed a fab deal this afternoon, so we’re really pleased about that, and another one at the end of last week, very happy!

Right, that’s all for now. Hope you all enjoy the week leading up to Christmas. Will check in soon with our Beijing version of events!!

Love

Tracy & Andy

xx
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