A holiday full of food & drink!!

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Flag of China  ,
Monday, May 6, 2013

Hiya,

Hope you're all enjoying your bank holiday Monday, and hope the sun is shining too.

We finally recovered from our Shanghai trip, it took a while!!! Most updates today will take on the usual fashion of food & drink, but I make no apologies, that’s just life here!! Love life here, you do actually feel like you’re on holiday still, even after nearly a year as it still doesn’t feel real, a nice way to be!

So, let’s start with a wine tasting event a week ago Weds at a new little eatery called Zap Urban Eateray that’s opened up near us, run by a lady we know, just a cool little coffee / breakfast / lunch place. A great evening with 5 different wines to taste, accompanied by some nice cheeses, and some familiar & some new faces to chat to.

Another successful quiz night passed us by, around 45 people this time – a fun evening with Andy as the host, and me as quiz mistress!

We have signed another year on our apartment, so we’ll be here for a while yet! All very straightforward after the hours last year spent hunting & signing, re-newed it direct with the owners, who haven’t raised the rent thankfully, and all done in 5 mins!! Very happy staying there, ideal location, and really like it still.

A new networking event for me on a Friday lunchtime, with a life coach who I’d met a few times at the Viva women events, it was a work life balance workshop with lunch, met some interesting & new people, and had some good debates.

Friday 26th April was our first wedding anniversary! Wow, where has that time gone?!! It has flown by, and been the most incredible year of our lives. A lovely day reflecting on a wonderful wedding, looking at our photos and missing everyone lots. Our evening started with a Long Island iced tea in a cool little hutong bar, we’d been passed it several times laughing at signs outside saying 'fxxxing good mojitos’ and ‘shut up & drink’ (you may remember the photos!!). After that we’d booked a Vietnamese restaurant for dinner that we like, in Houhai, where the lakes are and had a nice romantic table by the window overlooking the lake and the pretty lights at night. A very nice dinner plus a bottle of red wine, we were happy. Of course afterwards we decided to try one of the ‘fxxxing good mojito’s (we thought they should be judging by the mounds of fresh mint on the bar being chopped when we first went in!) and have to agree, they were ‘fxxxing good’!!! A couple of cool hutong bars after that, we were done.

This was the start of 5 days holiday, you know that I’ve mentioned before, when China have national holidays, they’ll add on days around it to give people more time off to travel & see family, but make them work the weekend! So this holiday was for Labour day on the Wednesday, but the Chinese worked the Saturday & Sunday, for the Mon / Tues / Weds off, actually only benefitting from one day holiday. Luckily working for a British company, they don’t make us work the weekends. Saying that, we both had stuff on the go which we worked on at home anyway. Labour day is celebrated here on 1st May, unlike the UK where it’s the first Monday in May, to celebrate the economic & social achievements of workers (ironic then that they are made to work a 7 day week before the holiday!!).

Saturday we headed to Carrefour on the scooter for supplies, before brunch at the new local eatery, Zap, an afternoon chill out to some DVD’s, before go karting in the evening. Andy’s hosted his Internations group event, and we had 23 people racing. A great evening, all took it in turns to race during the night, resulting in a boys finale and a girls finale. I had a bit of a crash into someone, then someone crashed into me, so I drove like Miss Daisy again worried about getting hurt! Andy didn’t do as well as normal, due to a guy who was very fast and races regularly with faster cars! A few drinks back in town rounded off the night.

Sunday we had brunch at the Big Smoke, then stocked up on some meat at the local butchers as we’d been invited for a Sunday afternoon BBQ. Talking of meat, there are so many scares here at the moment, people are scared about eating chicken / duck due to bird flu, the concerns over pork after the thousands of pigs floating dead in the Shanghai River, now in the last week scandals of a criminal ring selling meat from rats, foxes, and mink – passing it off as mutton, they arrested 63 people who’d sold over $1.6m of fake mutton over 3 years. A quote from a news report:

"After pigs were found in the Huangpu river we don’t dare to eat pork, because of bird flu we don’t dare to eat chickens or ducks and now we can’t eat beef or mutton [because it might be rat meat]," wrote one person called Wu Jingxing on China’s popular Twitter-like Weibo service. “The vegetarian diet plan will definitely be a massive hit across all of China.”

It is a little worrying, but you can’t let it stop you from eating everything, especially here, there is always some food safety concern about something.

We still had a great BBQ, and went to a friend’s place who’s balcony was bigger than our apartment! How the other half live! And enjoyed good company, good food, and of course good drinks!

On Monday we went to the Strawberry Music Festival in a park about an hour from the city centre, many acts on 8 different stages over 3 days, afternoon & evening. We chose Monday as Travis were playing. We arrived on a beautiful blue sky warm sunny afternoon, to sit & listen to a few Chinese singers / bands, including an apparently famous 80’s diva (not sure I’d agree!!), and then Travis in the evening. They were great, they played for about an hour & 15 mins, played all their old stuff as well as a lot of new songs which were really good too. We were concerned that due to the Chinese lack of respect for personal space that it was going to be a bit of an ordeal, but we were pleasantly surprised! We even found our friends there too amongst the masses & managed to put our blanket down. Afterwards we headed back into town as we were hungry, for the half price food deal at the First Floor bar.

Tuesday, our friend Matthew invited us to join him for brunch at Lily’s American diner near his apartment, well….. it was the best breakfast we’ve had here, big fry up, very scrummy. I had a peanut butter shake afterwards too which was lush, much to Andy’s disgust!! The plan was to do some shopping nearby for some summer clothes & stuff, but as always it proved hard work. Couldn’t really find what I was looking for, and came away with 2 belts & a pair of shorts, hardly going to get me through the summer. So many clothes I brought with me have worn out, literally, as we didn’t bring loads of things, you wear & wear things until they die!! Andy has been trying to find some casual trousers without luck too. Our friend joined us again later, and another friend who was in town from Shanghai, for a few cold beers in one of the street bars, a great people watching spot, and a good ‘man park’ for whilst the women shop!!

Wednesday, Labour day, we headed out on the scooter, first brunch plan falling through due to lack of a few menu choices being actually available, so we headed to a newish place, Indigo Mall for some food & a wander around the shops, coming away empty handed again! A last minute decision to go to Ted Baker, and bingo, Andy found some really cool trousers, no surprise really I guess!! Back into town for guess what?! A few beers meeting up with some friends. Well, the weather has got very hot & sunny, so you need cold beer!!

Thursday morning coffee meeting for me with a now client & friend, so that was great, I’ve also got a health insurance plan that’s gone through this week too, a first, so that’s great.

Friday we’d booked tickets for ‘Sexy Circus’, one of the ex pat magazines put on the party, 12 for the night, entertainment, 4 free drinks & food, not bad. The dress code on the ticket was ‘dress freakily’….. hmmm how do you interpret that?! The entertainment was burlesque dancing, pole dancing etc. so I went with the red shoes, fishnets, feather boa kind of thing. Andy went for the freaky punk kind of look including a Mohican, and wait for it….. make up! Black eyeliner & eyeshadow which I put on for him, he seemed quite comfortable with it & it was certainly a weird experience putting make up on my husband!!!! Friends had gone all out & dressed as a circus ringmaster & mistress. Sadly when we first go there, hardly anyone had dressed up, but a few more had who turned up later! A fun evening with great entertainment, and plenty of food & drink, more than the 4 free drinks, so we did well. Andy also won a drinking competition (really??? I hear you say!!!) with a couple of others, resulting in 2 vouchers for 2 different restaruants, 30 to spend in each. Cool! Also this month we’ve won 2 magazine prizes, a 100 bottle of champagne to enjoy at the Ritz Carlton Hotel, and a 100 voucher for a very nice French Brasserie called Flo. Can’t wait to use either of those!

Saturday I met my friend Tracey for coffee, and a trip to the 798 Art District for a cultural wander which was lovely in the sun. Last visit was in the depths of winter, so it looked totally different. Andy got his haircut (the Mohican had to go!!) and chilled out at home. That evening, a girls night had been planned for a while, so around 14 of us ladies met for cocktails at Flamme, before going to a new Mexican restaurant Cantina Agave, for margaritas & fajitas, very nice. One of the girls had a contact at a club called Suzy Wongs, which after nearly a year here I’d managed to avoid…..!! It was a fun night, with a table reserved for us, and several bottles of free fizz. We met the boys in there too, who were drunker than us, and seemingly unable to hold their drink ;)

A few of us on Sunday decided to go cycling at midday, having the bike is wonderful, especially now in the warmer weather. Such a nice way to get around. Andy joined us for parts of it on the scooter, hoping to get a bike this weekend. A few stops along the way for coffee at a beautiful roof top terrace in Nanluogu Xiang, a cool but very busy & commercialised hutong. Lunch at Mr Shi’s dumplings in the opposite hutong, our favourite for the best fried savoury dumplings and sizzling potatoes, chilli & onion in a hot pot, yum. A cycle around Houhai lakes after, and a Mojito on a rooftop terrace overlooking the lake. See, I told you there was lots of food & drink involved in this blog!!

I crashed out in the evening after having a bath, whilst Andy went to Paddy’s to watch a disappointing Liverpool v Everton game, ending in a 0-0 draw L

Today, we’re at work – and you’re not, so see, we’re not ALWAYS on holiday!!

The spring is totally beautiful here, there has been some amazing blossom on the trees, mostly bright pink, adding great colour to the city, along with lovely magnolias, and bright greenery on the trees once more after a bare & stark winter. The weather suddenly got warm, over the holidays around 21-26 degrees, and today we’ve hit 31 degrees, with similar for the rest of the week.

The only down side to that is the worst hayfever I’ve ever had. I think in the UK where you get rain & wind to blow & wash it away, I suffered but not to this extent, here it’s still so dry it’s hanging in the air, and with the pollution too I think it’s added to the severity. For around 6 weeks now I’ve been sniffing & sneezing all the time, not pleasant.

Today I start a fitness campaign and aim to eat more healthily & drink a little less…. Off to Heyrobics tonight to start it all off. More walking and cycling will help, and the warmer weather to make eating sald a little more inviting!

Ok, that’s all for now folks!!

xx
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Comments

Ellie and Dave on

Well we must start with the bank hol weather.Would you believe hot and sunny.People flocking to the beach.It has been great .Love all the pictures of the Spring flowers.Our garden is looking really nice at moment.Although we had so much rain earlier on I think the gardens have really flourished.
Pleased you are still loving being in China.You seem to have made lots of friends and have lots of fun.Did not recognise Andy at the circus!
We have had a great day spending time with all the family over at Bosham.Oscar and Snowdrop are both doing well.We put them side by side on the playmat and they are so cute.
Good to read your news.Lots of love to you bothXXXXX

tracy-andy-pez
tracy-andy-pez on

Dear Mrs Perry the boys can handle there drinks its just that we was downing Margaritas in one for a large amount of the evening having just eaten mini burgers. hehe.

Sarah Hobday on

Hello both - from sunny South Africa,,,well it is not as it is 11pm on a Friday night and yes just finished work! Lovely to read all your news and really hoping we manage to connect in the not to distant future. Lots of love xx

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