Friday, December 25, 2009

Back in Beijing for Xmas

We got back from Bangkok last week and had a sudden 30-degree drop in temperature. Bangkok was as fun and as hot as ever. I want to retire there as soon as I can. We looked at some condos this time, but were put off by the high prices which are approaching that of Beijing. (At the beginning of the year, Beijing property prices were predicted to fall 20% but in actual fact have gone up 30%!). 

Today is Xmas Day, and it's a normal working day for most Beijingers. Offices of foreign companies are noticeably quieter, and the more generous ones give a day's holiday to their staff. Many expats have left town to go home or to some warm resort in the region. Those who stayed can celebrate Xmas in style at the various dinners put on by the 5-star hotels and restaurants, costing up to USD100+ per head.

Most Chinese however do not celebrate Xmas and will not be eating turkey or brussel sprouts today. Some of my (young) local friends just send text messages for Xmas but no cards or gifts. We did drive out last night in the windy weather to a party held by an American friend, and soon got stuck in traffic near the Third Ring Road with all the other party-goers. We sung some carols and exchanged gifts, which was fun. I got some 'fun' videos, which I can't post here, so you have to visit me in Beijing if you want to see them!

And of course now is a good time to come to Beijing since there are few tourists in the Forbidden City or on the Great Wall right now! 

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