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Miyun Week 4

Miyun Travel Blog

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Piotr and Martin enjoy a 10 quai beer at the Pattaya

Monday was a struggle given the lack of down-time at the weekend, but I was delighted when one of my students presented me with a moon cake at the end of the evening class to celebrate the mid-autumn festival.

The mid-autumn festival is not a public holiday despite it being quite a big celebration in China.  Most people try to spend it with their families...The evening centres around eating a big dinner and a variety of different moon cakes, which can be both sweet and savory, and watching the festival celebrations on CCTV.

The highlight of my mid-autumn festival was being told the students had exams Wednesday to Friday so therefore there were no classes!  Although Mr Guo seemed to think we would still have evening classes so I turned up on Wednesday evening to an empty classroom.

Doing Jazz Hands
  I waited for about 20 minutes before finding one of the teachers who told me the class was cancelled like all the others.  This is a typical T.I.C. moment....no clear communication ever it would seem.

Anyhow, the rest of my week was therefore pretty easy so I decided I would use the free time as an opportunity to take a trip to visit Martin and Piotr in Huairou, which is only 20km from Miyun.

I asked Mr Guo to give me directions in Chinese for the taxi driver.  He made me laugh because he told me I should negotiate with the driver.  I do realise this is normal Chinese behaviour, but wasn’t too sure how I would manage it with my non-existant language skills!

The evening turned out to be a mini adventure.

With a couple of the waiters
....

My negotiation with the cab driver was pretty much non-existant, and as I expected, he had no idea where he was going, despite the directions I thought I had from Mr Guo.  Fortunately Martin was able to get one of his students on the phone to direct him into the town, which simplified things.

After having a little look at Martin and Piotr’s school and dorms, we headed out to dinner before going to the infamous Pattaya Club.  Martin and Piotr had been telling the Beijingers about this place, but it’s definitely somewhere that needs to be experienced to be believed....

We got whisked straight in (no charge) and given a table close to the dance floor.

The male(?) pole dancer
  The beer only cost ¥10 a bottle and there was a bouncing dance floor and poll dancers.  What’s more, at 11pm, the live performance began.  Aparantly the show varies night to night but that Thursday brought a fantastic spot from China’s answer to Frank Sinatra, with whom I totally fell in love!  He was followed by two guys dressed in army camaflage trousers and fishnet vest, who began by singing and dancing in unison.  After a few minor acrobatics, their performance ended with one smashing breaks on the other’s head with a ring of fire appearing around the dance floor.  I’d never seen anything quite so bizarrely fantastic in my life!  The icing on the cake was when a couple of the Chinese guys invited Martin and I to KTV, which happened to also be in the club.  This place was definitely designed for me - it quite possible is my ultimate nightclub!!!

I somehow managed to wow one of the Chinese guys with a rendition of Amazing Grace - he kept shouting ‘I love you, I love you, I love you’, which was quite amusing particularly as I think these 3 words were perhaps the only ones he knew in English!!

We finally left at 2am and I now had the problem of finding a cab to get me back to Miyun.

'Avin a boogie
...

We managed to find one loitering at the town’s McDonalds.  Martin took control of the bartering, but stupidly forgot to tell me the agreed price.  I eventually made it home around 3am after the cab driver got lost a few times.

I was grateful for an easy Friday but I had to teach on Saturday as Golden Week was approaching, which is a big national holiday.  3 days of the first week of October are paid national holiday, but all companies give their workers the full week off, with staff expected to make up the 2 other days of the working week some other time. Schools operate by the same system as there are no half terms as such. Therefore, I was to work one of those 2 days before the holiday and one at the end of the holiday...

Inga and I headed into Beijing at the end of the school day so didn’t make it to the hostel until 9pm.

The VIPs together
  As usual, we had a couple of beers when we arrived, whilst we waited for Shangin and PM, and I got chatting to one of the other guests, a guy called Paul Orchard from St Albans.  We headed to the Lotus Bar round the corner from the hostel for a couple of drinks and invited Paul and some random German guy to join us.  It was a fun but fairly sedate evening but also it was the last time I would see Shangin as she had decided to quit the programme.  She’d not been happy since getting to China and really didn’t enjoy the teaching so enough was enough. So, at the end of the evening we said our farewells, which seemed a little odd, given I’d spent a month so close to her at UIBE (sleeping side by side!!)...

I ended up chatting with Paul back at the hostel until around 2am.  It was really interesting talking to him, because he’d done a lot of travelling.

The amazing duo
  I was particularly jealous of his current trip which would take him through China to Tibet and onto Nepal.  It just made me more excited about the rest of my year away.

After a much-needed lie-in, Inga and I headed to the Silk Market with Paul in tow.  After scouring for bargains and coming away with a fake pair of Gucci sunglasses, Inga and I headed to Wanfujing and I pointed Paul in the direction of the Stone Boat cafe at Ritan Park.

I managed to get my all-time fav at the Oriental Plaza - a caramel latte from Starbucks - which perked me up no end, then I thought it would be good to take Inga to the Stone Boat cafe.  Like many times before, we managed to get lost.  When we got out of the subway, the map I had seemed to bare no resemblance to the road names.

The fabulous Chinese Frank Sinatra
  I asked for directions and got sent in the wrong direction as usual, so Inga and I ended up getting a motorbike taxi.  Despite being somewhat over-powered by the bike’s engine fumes, it was quite a funny experience.  I was also happy I managed to barter with the driver successfully!

Quite a few hours had passed since we’d parted with Paul at the Silk Market, but we found him sitting at the Stone Boat, so joined him for a drink...

We sat chatting for a couple of hours, which was really pleasant as, unlike in the summer, the park was quite empty so very peaceful.  The Stone Boat cafe is definitely the perfect place to come and while away an afternoon with either a good book or a group of friends and a bottle of wine.

As the sun was setting, Paul and I headed back to the hostel and Inga commenced the epic journey back to Miyun.

The definitely female pole dancer

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Piotr and Martin enjoy a 10 quai b…
Piotr and Martin enjoy a 10 quai …
Doing Jazz Hands
Doing Jazz Hands
With a couple of the waiters
With a couple of the waiters
The male(?) pole dancer
The male(?) pole dancer
Avin a boogie
'Avin a boogie
The VIPs together
The VIPs together
The amazing duo
The amazing duo
The fabulous Chinese Frank Sinatra
The fabulous Chinese Frank Sinatra
The definitely female pole dancer
The definitely female pole dancer
Posing!...Again!
Posing!...Again!
The 10 quai beer kicking in!
The 10 quai beer kicking in!
The I love you, I love you man
The 'I love you, I love you' man
Me with a random girl at KTV
Me with a random girl at KTV
Martin and our host do a ballad to…
Martin and our host do a ballad t…
On the bus
On the bus
Shangins last visit to the Sleepy
Shangin's last visit to the Sleepy
Looking disheveled on the bike cab
Looking disheveled on the bike cab
The view of Ritan Park from the St…
The view of Ritan Park from the S…
Paul and I at the Stoneboat
Paul and I at the Stoneboat
Miyun
photo by: lizharvey79