Sunday, June 21, 2009


Last night we had a housewarming party that went well. One guest who is involved in finding ideas/small companies and giving them funding to expand brought along a gift from one of the companies he has invested in, a simple but effective idea: a big teddy bear with a speaker inside. You download some music or audio files (i.e. learn english part 1) and the teddy plays it, so it might make learning english from cd more fun or interesting for children. Alternatively, you can just get it to play some soothing music and cuddle the teddy to sleep! Interesting idea, and cute with each hand/foot representing a different function (play, volume up etc).

As I write this, i am sitting on a bean bag, which was collected from a friend who recently went home; she had it custom made, and the more i use it, the more i marvel at its simplicity yet total comfort; much like the hammock my sister had in her room at home. Now, just have to hope i don't burst the bag!

Today we went back to our favorite park, but also checked out another part that has a swimming pool and a beach. Not much space on the sand amongst all the people, but a beach with nice clean sand none-the-less, and only a few pounds for the whole day! The joys of discovering new things in Beijing.

Next to our building, across a new road, that is not open yet, there is some bizarre construction going on, involving a big pit that they have been filling up with soil for the last 2 weeks and a small 1 story building (we think) next to it, which has very few walls (so far) and is also now being given a soil floor. In an ideal world it might turn into a lake of somekind with a tea house or restaurant next door, but we are not sure exactly, and eager to find out; hopefully in the next few weeks.

To the north of our complex is another massive new complex under construction (well the financial crisis led to a government stiumulus to support more building work, as it creates substantial employment), which is moving ahead at full steam. It might actually be 2 or 3 complexes in total, we are not sure right now, but do know that there are over 20 buildings of 25 storeys going up. Also found out from a friend that she is keen to buy one of the new apartments, and already slipped the sales agent a bribe of 1,000 pounds or so to try to get one, as they are in high demand it seems (maybe one reason is that from 2012 or so another subway will open right next door, saving the ten minute walk to the current subway line!). If there was a lull in construction during the Olympics to reduce dust, everything is at full-speed ahead now.

Indeed, though we were the first to move in on our floor (the 16th) it seems we will soon have some neighbours. Yesterday some more lighting was added to the footpaths through the park in the middle of our compound, and the grass was cut. The tennis court was finished ages ago, though I am not sure if we can use it (no net up yet), the adjacent gym/pool has not made much progress as is still an empty concrete whole though. I am also keen for that to get finished, along with a few shops to open up nearby, as there is not many at the moment. In the meantime, i'll continue to enjoy some glorious weather and the green park in the daytime, and almost romantic lighting in the evening.


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