So I went to China for work, it’s still quite surreal but I’m so grateful for the opportunity, it was such an amazing experience. Seeing how the locals live, visiting markets & climbing the Great Wall of China!
An early start on Friday 19 February, LHR to PEK for meetings in Beijing. We flew with BA and it was actually one of the first pleasant experiences I’ve ever had flying with them. I fly with them a lot but I’m always restless, uncomfortable and pretty much hate the flight! Our flight attendant was hilarious and just made me feel at ease straight away.
He noticed my magazines and within seconds we began discussing LFW, The Kardashians & beauty regimes!
I don’t tend to eat anymore before a flight because the entire journey is just uncomfortable for me! The pressure affects my stomach so bad, I just swell up into a huge balloon & spend the duration in agony… So just lots of water for me. I wish I had got our flight attendants name because he was honestly the best but anyway, he noticed I wasn’t eating & offered to get me some soup and fruit by which point I was starving so was very grateful! The drinks, hot towels & service just kept coming, they looked after us very well!
Once we arrived at Beijing, it was around 4:45am local time so straight to the hotel and to bed was the plan. Laura & I were wide awake within the hour so after we checked into the Fairmont, we helped ourselves to breakfast – yay! We were both craving English Breakfast tea but it’s never quite the same when you are away from home..
Quick shower, into some comfy clothes & I decided to take a power nap before having a meeting with the hotel & off to explore as much as we could before the week kicked off!
We took the bus and was heading for the Forbidden City but after security and little queuing, we found out it was sold out. We went onto the Royal Parks and walked around Beijing city for a few hours. It was really quite cold but glorious sunshine so that made me happy! Even with frozen over lakes, a local man was in nothing but shorts & swimming in the only part of the lake which wasn’t frozen over – bonkers. It gave me goosebumps just watching the crazy guy! I’m not sure having a dog as a pet was a thing years ago in China but now I think the laws have been relaxed, the economy has improved and more people are warming to them. All the dogs we saw were pretty small, I think there must be some sort of rule on size.
I saw lots of the same breed of dogs, what we would say are the expensive kind in the UK, Shar Pei, Pug, Shih Tzu, Chow Chow and the most beautiful Poodles.
Face is extremely important in Asia! The concept of face can be described as a combination of social standing, influence, respect, reputation , dignity & honour. It’s important in both business and personal life. Gift giving and wine & dining is also a big deal in China. Gifts are given for various reasons: gratitude & appreciation, gratuities, request for favours. Wine & dine is important when building relationships.
Lots of Peking duck, pork, spices and vegetables in Beijing! I became a vegetarian this week, I am fussy with what I eat anyway but I was quite uncertain about a lot of the fish & meats so better to be safe than sorry I say.
It was my birthday on Sunday 21 February and we just so happened to be venturing out to the Great Wall of China for our team activity! How bloody amazing is that?! Birthday’s are kind of a big deal to me, whether I’m 4 or 24.. perhaps I’ll change my mind when I turn 30 but until then I’m going to ENJOY them – why the hell not?! I was kind of sad that I wasn’t home for it with my friends and family but I was so grateful for this opportunity. I learned a lot this week, saw some amazing sights and got to tick another thing off of my list – another wonder of the world – DONE!
We finished our walk with some lunch at this cute school house, traditional and local food. I’m not used to chop sticks but unless I was going to starve, I had to learn 😉
After a nice hot shower, a little nap… we finished off my birthday with a group meal. I had BIRTHDAY STEAK of course, for anyone that knows me, it’s tradition now. Cocktails also went down nicely with this beautiful surprise cake from my team – covered in coconut shavings – AMAZING!
We took the high speed train from Beijing to Shanghai and once we arrived, it just felt like a complete whirlwind! We had spent 5 hours on the train and just over an hour on the coach to our hotel. We checked in at the Four Seasons Hotel, no time to freshen up really, literally dumped our bags and left straight away as we were off to a Shanghai Cookery Class & the Urumqi Wet Market! This was so much fun, we made our own spring rolls, dumplings (not the tidiest but practice makes perfect right?!) and wok dishes! It was actually really good.
On the Thursday night, we had dinner at Hakkasan on the Bund. I’ve never eaten so much in all my life but my good, was the food WORTH THE COMA! Amazing cocktails too… what a great end to the week 🙂 The Bund was beautiful, I only saw it by night but all of the pretty lights made it look so busy but at the same time, it was so calm & peaceful just to look over the water. The shopping in Shanghai was also amazing, as expected.
Ok, that’s enough from me. I hope you enjoyed my travel diary from China and any questions if you are planning a trip there, give me a shout! X