Monday, April 09, 2007

Beijing blossom

I'm down with the cold that seems always to come, for me, soon after the heating in Beijing changes. It's warmed up considerably here over the last week and the heating has been turned off for the few hundred million households whose heating is controlled 'from above'. However, the insulation in my flat is not bad and as it heats up outside, even with the windows open the flat takes a while to warm up. So it's a bit too chilly and I'm now paying the price. Anyway, all very tedious and I'll be better in a day or two.

This weekend was the usual mixture of work and running around the city. On the way to meet some friends of the family I was shouted at by my taxi driver, twice! Once for drinking a mixture of Chinese tea and a Chinese cold remedy - a no-no, and once for not knowing how to get to my destination, although I gave the exact address and a description of the building. The first offense I thanked him for his advice but I have to admit that I laughed when he started chastising me for not knowing my way in the city.

Having been asked to find somewhere not too touristy to meet up with some friends of my family, we met up in one of my favourite tea houses. Although going for a tea ceremony is, perhaps, a touristy thing to do, it is at least a very relaxing way to spend an afternoon away from the crowds. The road leading to the Confucius Temple from Yong He Gong houses a few interesting restaurants including, so I'm led to believe, a rather fine all-vegetarian place. It also has an extremely peaceful, if tourist driven, tea house where for about 50 kuai (£4) per person you get a selection of teas which are refilled as long as you are happy to sit there letting the world rush by outside. They talk you through the method of preparation and will pick the teas to your taste. See here for a good breakdown of the basics of Chinese tea.

On the way back I took a few more snaps of the city which is now coming into bloom along with a few city life shots, here's one, but more can be found here.

Beijingers in the blossom 2

Anyway, while the cold levels are up, my concentration and productivity for work is down so I'm trying to spend some time reading up on a few topics while the current calculations are put on hold. Given enough vile tasting medicine I should be fighting fit in a day or two.

5 comments:

Bruno Betenoir said...

Happy Easter old bean. No wonder you're ailing, your intake of seasonal chocolate eggs is too low. Mind you, I tried some of the chocolate when I was out there and it was a bit ropey, so best stick to the cold medicine. The Iran/British sailors thing got much coverage over there?

Jonathan Shock said...

And a Happy Easter to you too. The chocolate here isn't great but I've never really craved chocolate that much. I may give a proper plug some time to the best chocolate I've ever tasted which comes from the Rococo chocolate company http://www.rococochocolates.com/intro.php
Their 99% cocoa solids chocolate is pretty spectacular and all the organic artisan bars I've tried make all other chocolate pale into insignificance.

That was a fine sleight of hand, going seamlessly from cold remedies to international maritime crises. I don't tend to read the news direct from here that much and without a TV I don't know whether it received any direct coverage. I tend to keep up to date via the Beeb which can be piped into a feedreader here.

captain pugwash said...

I wish I was one of the sailers captured in Iran. I'd be rich now.

Trey Terpsichorean said...

Saw this in yesterday's paper:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/china/
story/0,,2054290,00.html

Get yourself down Dashanzi and buy up some art...

Jonathan Shock said...

Hi Trey,

The Beijing affordable art fair is pretty big news here in the local magazines so I'm planning on taking a trip down and seeing how affordable is affordable.

J