© 2010 notworkrelated - David Rutter & Helen Roscoe. All rights reserved. notworkrelated Beijing Day 1

China – Beijing – The Beginning – 8th November

Today is the day that we become semi-residents in Beijing, China. We grabbed some breakfast from the Templeside lodge which was very nice, photographed the Hutongs from the upper outdoor deck and chatted to an American guest drinking tea on the terrace. All very pleasant however there was a strong chill in the air, not as warm as Japan!

We were picked up by our host for the next few weeks and driven to the Police station to register. This was as easy as signing a document to confirm that the details were correct. Helen’s parents have friends here in China who are able to help us out with accommodation for our stay in Beijing, and we are very grateful to them for allowing us to be their guests. We climbed the concrete flights of stairs to the 6th floor and into the apartment which is very nice and spacious, I think we have been spoilt again in our travelling journey. We were then invited to go out to dinner with our host, his wife and Frank a colleague who was our translator and they would meet us at 4.30pm.

So after some relaxation time in our new temporary home and some washing in the leaky washing machine, we popped out to the local Wu-Mart to see what was on offer. This place is pretty big and they appear to sell anything and everything at rather cheap prices. It was hot and the trolly was as crappy as the ones at home! We pushed through and bought enough items to stock up the fridge and replenish any depleted stocks from the past few weeks. It does appear that we are in a very local area, I don’t think we saw another western face on our trip out, with lots of stares from the local populace which can become a little unnerving.

It was not long until our host and entourage arrived to escort us around the local area with hints and tips on local places of interest and a guided tour of the farmers market. After a visit to the local lake we headed inside to a restaurant which specialises in hotpot. Hotpot here is not the same as in England, it is a sharing experience that involves a very hot metal bowl in which water boils and you place in your bits of meat and vegetables to cook then scoop out dunk in the nutty sauce and finally chew it down, it was very nice. One thing we have learnt very quickly is that the Chinese people don’t really like you to clear your plate, it’s a sign that you are not full. Loads of food was ordered and we were most definitely stuffed by the end.

Back to our new lodgings we relaxed with the only English speaking TV channel CCTV news, let our food digest and headed to bed.

(Leica M9, Summicron-M 50mm f2.0 & Olympus PEN, 17mm f2.8 & 100mm f2.8, processed in Lightroom 3)

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