Champagne and dancing girls

We climbed out of bed at 4.30, as we all seem to have finished sleeping by then, despite how we feel – and it’s daylight outside by then anyway.

After breakfast we met Yu Mei, our new ayi (which means auntie). Ayis are very common here and can have different job descriptions depending on the circumstance – Yu Mei is going to be Zara’s nanny and helper-around-the-house. Zara and Yu Mei start off very well by laughing at each other for 20 minutes, then we all go across to the supermarket so Yu Mei can point out which bottles are dishwashing liquid and which are for cleaning clothes.

From Zara in Beiji…

Immediately afterward we met Sia (Nikki’s friend, who is also posted here) at the hotel entrance and we’re driven off to a Champagne Buffet at a hotel on Financial Street by another bloke from Nikki’s work who navigates by instinct and by shouting at passing taxi drivers for hints. We arrive a little late,  unexpectedly driving past the Great Hall of the People, and Tiananmen Square en route (as an aside, it is my fervent hope that I will be able to spell the name of that square by the time I leave this place, without looking it up. Got to have goals, you know).

The buffet is outrageous – crayfish crawling about, a free-flowing chocolate fountain and endless Piper being doled out, while dancing girls and tangoing couples circle the tables. Apparently it goes all afternoon but the baby was getting scratchy so we retired back to the apartment for a group collapse.

(Found out later we’d paid the bill in Thai baht. It all looks the same to me – except the Thai King and Chairman Mao have absolutely no resemblance)

I’d like to say our first dinner in China was exotic Peking Duck or at least something involving rice. But cheese on toast seemed simpler and more achievable. We’ll conquer the local cuisine tomorrow.