Help Beijing win a #4sqCities Badge!

Foursquare have recently launched  a global competition for international cities to have a City Badge launched for their town. People can submit a list of the best venues from their town, be they restaurants, tourists sites or other unique or interesting destinations. For the winning cities, Foursquare will design a special City badge that users can unlock by visiting several or more places from the list. With this in mind, I have set the ball rolling on creating a list for Beijing, but I need your help.
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How to get your Beijing Motorcycle Driving License

These very useful instructions were written by my friend Ruud a couple of years ago. I just finally passed my Beijing Car Driving License today, and have decided to push on to get my motorcycle license as well. Having just got a new copy of his instructions, I have decided to post them up here in case anyone else finds them useful. Don’t thank me – thank Ruud! Here you go: Continue reading

By the Skin of our Teeth


Well we have the official word – we are safe (at least for now). They have posted signs around the area stating the building numbers they are going to demolish and thankfully we are not on it.

The plan is to demolish all the building to our north up to our back wall, which does mean that we potentially could have an entrance to our north which would be good, and since they are demolishing to create a green belt we may even be able to make use of the grass on that side. :)

This good news was marred somewhat though by the landlord, clearly under the influence of his overbearing wife, who pitched up asking for more money. Unfortunately for him, and fortunately for us, he can’t do anything since we all signed the contract. Clearly he thought that our debatably improved location should earn him more money…

Balancing on the Razor’s Edge

As many people now know I recently left my job to, among other things, open a restaurant here in Beijing. Things have been progressing in a more or less forward direction until today. We were standing in the shell of the building that will soon be our restaurant overseeing the construction when two men wandered in and announced that they were from the demolition company charged with demolishing the whole area! As you can imagine, this came as something of a surprise, and also meant that our discussions of the interior design minutae were suddenly obsoleted.

Xuduan and Will then went into a phone frenzy trying to dig out the facts from wherever they could find them. Xuduan managed eventually to get hold of someone who told her that the plan was to demolish all buildings thirty meters back from the ring road to our north, to create a lovely grass area next to the road… We then imediately ran outside and up the side street between our hutong and the second ring road armed with a tape measure, and proceeded to measure from the building to our north back towards our place. The result of this proved that the northern most point of our building lies approximately thirty eight meters from the road giving us a supposed eight meter safety net – provided the facts we have are even accurate. Our last attempt to get more informaton was to charge off, scooters throttled to the max, bound for the office of commerce which was unfortunately closed for the weekend by the time we got there which means we have to now wait for monday to learn more…

The conclusion of all this is such that we are either (a) about to be better positioned, right by the second ring road with the potential of a northern entrance across a nice grass lawn, or (b) completely fucked, and about to be rather substantially out of pocket. Hopefully Monday will provide as with a concrete answer either way. I will let you know.

MONDAY UPDATE: The guy who can tell us is in a meeting all day today, so we now have to wait till tommorrow.

Chav Arse Regal

On wednesday evening I went to the Chivas Regal “Milan” party. This was one of those events where the funds put in definitely exceeded the taste of those involved. On arrival, all the guests walked up a red carpet complete with press photographers snapping shots of us towards the entrance to the building which had had Milan cathedral projected on to the fron of it. Inside things we equally strange, including an Opera singer singing (badly!) over the dance music, stylists offering hair and face make overs and an assortment of downright nasty (but at least free) Chivas-based cocktails. You needed only look at the faces of the other guests to realise that everyone there was as bemused as we were. In fact the whole event was firmly planted in the so-bad-it’s-good camp. Enjoy the pics.

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Skiing at Huaibei

IMG_3640On Saturday a whole group of us drove to the Huabei International Ski resort three hours north of Beijing for a day of burning up and down the longest run! Skiing in Beijing is a far cry from the Alps but it is a hell of a lot closer so we don’t complain too much. It was a fun afternoon and only Robbie managed to stack it ass-over-tit on the steep bit. Plonker.

Enjoy the pics.

Beijing Third Ring Road Collapses

A sewage pipeline leak in the early hours of yesterday morning in Beijing caused an eastern section of the city’s Third Ring Road to cave in, creating a hole 20 metres long, 10 metres wide and 10 metres deep. “Filthy water leaked out of the pipe and poured into a section of the subway line that is under construction,” Beijing Evening News quoted a witness as saying. Since no one was working there at the time, there were no casualties. The accident also created several cracks on the main road. The area has been cordoned off since the accident, forcing 31 bus lines to change routes. Repair work is still ongoing and is expected to last 3 days.

This happened just down the road from where I live. I should imagine that somebody somewhere has some serious explaining to do!

New Year’s Beijing Style

Well it is now Wednesday and I can safely say that I am now recovered from the weekend. Sunday however was not pretty. Spent most of the afternoon curled up on the sofa unable to focus on whatever it was I was trying to watch. New Year’s eve started with drinks at Jaque’s apartment before heading for an excellent dinner at Cafe Sambal. Lot’s of goof Malaysian food to say farewell to 2005. We had planned to get to Ruud’s house party in time for midnight but after much back and forth with the group, I was out voted and it was decided to spend it in Bed Bar just up the street. Apparently there was concern over not getting across Beijing in time and seeing in the New Year en route in a xiao li (beijing cab) gan bei-ing (cheers) with the driver. Some people have no sense of adventure…. bah!

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New Year done and dusted, we hot-footed it over to Ruud’s penthouse apartment in Ocean Paradise. Things did not look good on our arrival when we met the police in the lift on the way up, but our fears were quickly dispelled once we got upstairs. Ruud and his entourage had done an excellent job of turning his enormous place into a venue to rival most night clubs. Excellent fun with lots of bubbles to keep us in the style to which we are accustomed :)

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Later as things were winding down, we headed on to Suzie Wong’s (with a quick detour for a whizz around Tango) where things may or may not have taken a turn for the worst. Suffice to say I found myself stumbling home after dawn. My name at that point escapes me….

All my photos from the evening can be seen here. Other photos at Ruud’s party were also taken Ruud, Denise and Jessie.