Play by play…. 3pm Tuesday I leave the Canton fair in Guangzhou (I flew into Shenzhen and I stayed at a hotel near Shenzhen) and took the Guangzhou subway towards the (Shenzhen) airport. I saw signs that read, “Guangzhou subway” everywhere. A bulb lit up in my brain….F$%@ …. I was in the wrong city. I called a local friend and he suggested simply taking a flight from Guangzhou— much less hassle….. I got to the Guangzhou airport at 5pm or so and realized that tons of PEK flights were cancelled due to weather and what was left was way over full. I got a ticket to Tianjin for today at noon…… Some random non-English speaking Chinese man offered to assist. He was making calls and asked that I follow him. He then proceeded to attempt to shake me down for 500 rmb. I played along until I realized that I was following him to the standby line. I then walked far away and returned at 6:47pm to find that I had received a ticket into Tianjin. Wohoo! I finally made it to my gate at 7:15pm and at 8:20 the gate attendant checked my ticket…. Her buzzer went off and she scratched my 28B seat off and changed it to 1A - FIRST CLASS I landed at midnight or so In Tianjin. By 1am I was in my 198 rmb hotel room after making friends with a guy from Libya (seriously) and he was so nice. I woke at 5:23am went 10 minutes to the train station, boarded a 6:20am train and was in my apartment by 8:05am.
I left out…. I enjoyed Julia and Edgar’s company Sunday night while eating dinner with them in Hong Kong. I took a minvan, a bus, a taxi, and my feet into Hong Kong for dinner with them. I then rode the metro to the border and made my way back to my hotel with Fran and Peter that same Sunday night. The adventure in Guangzhou nearly overwhelmed me. It definitely increased my calorie intake from the energy drain. Now I sit at 4:14pm fighting the urge for a nap. I need to be on schedule in order to stay sane. Kunming begins Saturday for a week and then my first of three May visitors arrives the day I return from Kunming.
I came across a blog from a Lauren Bercarich from New Jersey. It looks like she spent a year over here.
This one requires very little explaining. An extremely talented and experienced writer turned in an article to the Wall Street Journal about me.
Greg & Tony Blair
I was sitting at the bar of Da Dong Roast Duck restaurant in Beijing with my very new married couple friends I met on the way into the restaurant. Sherry and Chip live in Seoul, Korea. They arrived there from Kansas five years ago. They arrived in Beijing for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. While chatting with Sherry and Chip I noticed the four white men with security looking ear pieces walk into the restaurant and got curiously excited. I then saw Tony Blair with them. The five of them walked straight back to a non special 4 seater table. I nearly immediately then got up and approached an earpiece guy and started with, “I have a question.”
He made eye contact, firmly grabbed my elbow and pushed me backwards firmly half a meter. I then said, “What are the odds of me getting a photo?”
He politely said, “no chance.” I then followed up with, “I did ask the right person.” He (very politely) acknowledged my response as I walked back to my seat still full of excitement about the sighting and the encounter with British secret service.
My friends, David, Chris, and Julie arrived a few short minutes later and I shared my celebrity sighting story with them. After we sat, ate, and then got ready to leave I noticed the restaurant staff all getting autographs and photos so I went back, acknowledged the security guys and asked Tony if it was appropriate for a photo. He, very politely, said yes. I then went in for the photo and put my arm around him as he put his arm on my shoulder. My arm was quickly pushed down by a security guy. I exchanged a few pleasantries with him as a nice young lady took our photo with my phone. I shook his hand, then walked away. I now get to say that I met a former world leader and got to shake his hand and get a photo.
My witty friend, David, approached him, shook hands, and said, “I’m not even famous and people take my photo because I am white in Beijing.” Tony responded with, “American, right?”
On our way out I waved to the security guys at their table, said thanks and received head nods and acknowledgement from them. I love professional folks!
We foolishly didn’t even ask him why he was here. Also, Before I said anything (even to the two British guys in the restaurant) I believe I was the only person in the restaurant who recognized him.
That stuff fascinates me. I will now spend more time at places such as Da Dong in order to get more photos with former and present world leaders.
I would like for someone to have a list of brunch places to eat in Beijing. I love Chinese food but I prefer a Western style buffet on occasion. I think I may have to re-visit this posting in my quest to help others out in Beijing when they want a nice Sunday daytime meal. It’s my blog and my opinions. Price does factor into what’s good for me. The expensive choice for an all you care to eat and drink Sunday lunch time meal is the Wangfujing Hilton. They have a live band, lobster (sometimes) and all the Western and Chinese food you care to eat. The service is the best I have received in Beijing. They even have an ice cream bar. I love that. The charge is at least 500 rmb per person per meal and I will eat there every so often.