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nomadnorrie From Sydney to the formula 1 grand prix in Shanghai, Beijing, South Korea, Mongolia, Russia, Ukraine and Europe. Final destination by train is London. Hopping on a flight to Finland, then on to Japan and finally back to Sydney.

Run up to xmas

CHINA | Monday, 24 December 2007 | Views [809]

Me and Joseph(He's a doctor from South Korea) at dinner with the hotel big cheeses.

Me and Joseph(He's a doctor from South Korea) at dinner with the hotel big cheeses.

I was invited out to dinner a few days before xmas with a South Korean guy called Joseph. That was after I spent an evening drinking cold beer in a cold hotel lobby with him and the owner of my hotel. It was a bit of a triumph for me because we talked mostly in Chinese and I mostly understood what was being said.

Last week I learnt how to say "I don't know" in the local dialect. I heard a girl in a dvd shop say it. Although it did sound odd, I just copied her. Now when I say it people around me erupt in laughter. I suppose it could be a bit like hearing a Chinese person say "I couldn't believe it" with an Essex accent, a touch odd. As soon as the conversation slowed a little I threw in my "I don't know".

Towards the end of the evening the hotel owner asked me to give him an English name, the first thing that came into my mind was Alfred. He was quite impressed that his name is the same as that of Alfred the Great, probably doesn't realise it's a bit of an old man's name. His full English name is now Alfred Knight. His English is OK but not great and he strangely has difficulty counting in English. He practiced several times but everytime he missed out 8, not wanting to hurt his feelings I kept quiet.

We all drank far far too much, 28 bottles between us three men, although Lianna (the only lady at the table) also drank a couple. We were drinking Laoshan beer which comes from Qingdao and is one of the finest Chinese beers, it tastes great and thankfully the following morning I didn't have to nurse a hangover. The water in Qingdao is much better than in Beijing, consequently Laoshan beer is more expensive. It's also harder to find somewhere that sells it, if you do find it then it is worth trying.

The following day I went hiking on the great wall of China and the weather was excellent. Clear blue skies with cool winter breezes. Another welcome change to breathe fresh air and see the horizon.

The next couple of days were spent drinking beer and talking Chinese with some of the locals. On xmas day I was meant to go to Beijing's most famous Church with Joseph but we missed each other and he left without me. Later I caught up with him to find out how it was and he gave me my only xmas presents so far - a boiled egg and half an orange, ready peeled.

Happy xmas break and new year!

Tags: Food & eating

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