A few busy days later and I am back in Beijing. Let me introduce a typical Beijing trip:
Thursday morning, arrive in Beijing on overnight train. Get to office by 8.30am. Boss takes me out to lunch at the 'First kosher restaurant in Beijing' -not too impressed. Consumption of Western food: Steak sandwich with fries/salad
Thursday evening, head to a trendy bar in a hotel where the British Chamber of Commerce have a monthly networking event to meet new and old people. Grab some Chinese pancake and Peperami equivalent on way to a friend's apartment.
Friday morning, 10am, head to the Bookworm (a western style cafe/restaurant/library) for a 2 hour meeting/coffee. Consumption of Western drink: 2 Mochas.
Friday lunch, still in the Bookworm have 'business related' lunch with a friend before going back to the office to work. Consumption of western food: Steak sandwich with fries/salad
Friday evening, meet a friend for a couple of beers and go to Hot Pot (Every one sits around a pot of boiling water and puts uncooked food in and then eat -yummy and very sociable). End the night in Latinos (Latin Club).
Saturday, go for lunch at GrandMa's Kitchen (American style place). Consumption of western food: Grandma's Skillet (sort of like a fry-up) and Chocolate cake.
Saturday evening, go for dinner at Purple Haze (Thai restaurant). Consumption of non-chinese food: Red Chicken pineapple curry. Consumption of western drink: Long Island Ice Tea.
End the night at Brown's pub for St. Patrick's Day drinking Carlsberg. We get bored and buy 'Monty Python's the holy grail' for 1 pound (expensive, good quality DVD) head back to watch it and eat Ice Cream. Movie dies after an hour. So much for the expensive good quality DVD! Will buy cheap ones next time, that are of same quality.
Sunday, flat mate cooks salad and sandwich style lunch. Dinner is planned at another restaurant. Back to Xi'an on 7pm train tomorrow.
Coming to Beijing is expensive. None of the drinks (including beer) were less than 2 pounds; most up to 3 pounds. Food starting at 3-4 pounds. Yikes. The previous 3 days in Xi'an cost me 6 pounds in total, for 3 dinners and 3 lunches!
Chinese food is great: there is so much choice and variation, but it is certainly nice to eat Western again. But it is not a financially sustainable lifestyle... less time in Beijing (especially with today's awful pollution) in the future I think!