Well it’s been tough but rewarding. The final China diary summary is below. Although of course there will be a couple of days left over, travelling home etc – you can go to my Facebook PAGE (which anyone can access) to read more, each day, for the remaining diary entries. Or sign up for regular weekly newsletters on my website www.debbieflint.co.uk.
Back to You – see this week’s blog including web chats from Sara/Judith Williams skincare; Richard/Skechers and Bruce/Bodylade – go here to read their interesting Q&A! And watch out for Richard’s new Today’s Special Value – he tells all about it on the web chat! Bruce isn’t back at the start of May now, due to selling out all the stock! Probably end of May – can’t wait to show him my pic of me with the blade at the Great Wall of China! (see Deb’s China Diary below.)
DIARY – Week three
Day 12 – Officially over half way
Had some interesting chats today with one of the girls in the office whose English name is Cecilia (they pick one) and who was amazed I’m the oldest of five. Turns out that last year a new policy came about. Since the single child policy began in 1980, people in their early 30s downwards will not have siblings. BUT if they are now having children themselves and are an only child, or their partner is an only child, then they are allowed to have two children themselves – to maintain the population. BUT many say they only want one because children are expensive! Women go back to work straight afterwards very often – it’s the grandparents who look after the grandchild. You see that a lot out and about. ALSO the retirement age for women here is still 55. Yes, that’s 55. That means in three years time I would be retiring if I was Chinese…
However, they are changing legislation so that it becomes 65 for both the retirement age for men is currently 60. Another point is that if a woman had a second child by accident they had to pay ten times their monthly salary as a fine. Cecilia is one of two – her mum earned 300RMB and had to pay 3000 RMB when her sister came along. Nb if you’re a rural farming family and have a girl, you can try again for a boy – to help to work the fields! Another universe eh…
Found a familiar face in US guest David Segal, on air with his jewellery range. It’s that ‘double take’ moment, when someone’s really out of context and it takes a moment to realise! Once he remembered we had a quick chat, his jewellery had very busy lines earlier that day and does well here.
Did an hour on the treadmill – whooppeee! Bout time! Charity walk is mid-May! Today I found a much nicer ‘noodle bar’ where a black coffee is 22RMB ( £2.40 ish) and a plate full of food is 18! Then maybe cos of the heat – it hit 30 degrees here yesterday (see early morning slight smog halo but wind helped keep blue skies) and will be even hotter at weekend – you often see people nodding off (including at the desk!) Or in meetings! Haha! Imagine if this happened at your work! But it seems accepted here!
Day 13 – Temple of Heaven
Nice day out in really hot weather at the most enjoyable tourist attraction so far. Cypress trees, water sprays and breeze meant a lovely respite in the stifling temperatures that infiltrate the city in Spring. Beijing is in North China so it’s cooler here than in the South. So the Temple houses the largest wooden structure in China, and lots of decorated buildings and tiles and a wealth of ancient history dating back more than a thousand years. Lovely walkways and a place to sit and enjoy a rest!
Took ages to get back after! Kealan arrived – hooray! And bravely came with us straight off the plane!
Afterwards we got cab to Quinguan Street which is very ornate and has trams going up and down it. Went back to hotel via tube (an experience! Incl bag scan on way into tube station every time. ) Kealan’s first ride! Was v tired by this point as we gave up trying to find a taxi after half hour and walked 40 mins to tube station instead. Then via a supermarket in a mall where I bought a little fruit selection incl several whole lychees with skin on. I didn’t know they look like this did you?
Lunch today was in chinese KFC! Haha! Now THAT’s a TiFFT to be sure! Btw I keep nodding off mid evening here and waking up really early so today I sat in breakfast restaurant for ages looking out into sunny terrace and garden area- it was already warm. And soon after I got back upstairs, the team of Chinese cleaning ladies who do the room came in and out in about five minutes flat! Super-efficient!
Spent the evening chillaxing as the sun wiped me out today perhaps I should have done what some of the locals do with brollies and shade! Taking a brolly tomorrow though!
Tomorrow the Wall…
Day 14 – Hitting the Wall…
Physically and metaphorically! Looonnnggg day tourist-ing. Reached the Great Wall by 10am – good job we did – over 34 degrees up there in some spots & air was thin, or felt like it as we climbed the tiny steps barely big enough for my feet let alone western men’s size elevens! Ha ha! Then managed to walk along a big section of wall at MeTianYu (?) with little rests in the little lookout tower every so often where it was cool and breezy. Plus amazing views – what a spectacle – definitely a bucket list item fulfilled and what a Tifft! Then having come up by chair lift in twos, had a brilliant ride back down on a toboggan. I would have done that part on its own twice!
What a fabulous trip even managed to stop to do a little Bodyblade pick tried to record a short video but for some reason it hadn’t recorded when I checked afterwards I won’t blame Keelan ha ha ! And then we went home via the Ming tombs where there was a another spectacle – A reenactment in full costume – see video. Huge traffic jams meant we were in the car for about 4 1/2 hours today. This eve finally had dumpling dinner as it was Roberto’s last evening.
One thing you have to get used to over here is that they serve hot water with meals and the water cooler is not really a cooler – the choices are hot and hotter! I don’t mind – I like hot water to drink but I am now missing my almond milk in tea. I would love a nice cup of char. Nice chat with my kids on the app everyone uses over here called WeChat then off to bed early as I’m wiped out after today’s walking – around five hours.
Keelan’s first day in office tomorrow! And my last week – six more nights left including tonight.
Day 15 – Home Run
The thing about being here in China for so long is that certain things are becoming habit – like having hot water with lemon served with any meal in a restaurant, becoming familiar with colleagues and other presenters and my translator to the extent that when one of them burped out loud today by accident, I was teaching them all to say ‘more tea vicar?!’
We also got our regular taxi driver to pronounce oakwood – our hotel – very posh – rather than what he says – which sounds like ‘okka-woooda’ smile emoticon.
More good meetings today and formulated a plan for my leaving document which will involve a suggestion to create several little dream teams to keep the training going- E.g. one great presenter, one great producer and one great TV sales person all working together regularly.
After work went for a brilliant massage – see pic – and pedicure – guess which brand they do?- yes OPI- there we were, sat there having our nails done in OPI Malaga a Wine burgundy shade, and listened to Britney Spears ‘Hit Me Baby one More Time’. Then hotel dinner with Marina and we put the world to rights for two hours whilst Keelan had crashed out, as jetlag finally caught up with him!
Plus here are some more pics from yesterday’s outing. So after tonight just four nights to go and I’ll be home. X
Day 16 – National health ‘Lack of Service’!
So we were on the way to work this morning amidst all the awful traffic (see the other post with a video of some of it) and talking about the national health service – as you do. And it turns out they don’t have any here – you have to pay before you get operated on in the hospital, and you have to queue up to pay again separately to get medicine afterwards. It’s not a very efficient. Plus, one of the girls at work is pregnant. Here in China they allow pregnant mums to work less for the first three months and many will give up stuff strictly – eg coffee, added sugar, alcohol! Its very strict because it’s only one baby one birth so they prefer to look after their pregnancy- big time! After the first three months pregnancy, all being well, they go back to work as usual but the last three months the same thing happens again. That’s their rule over here apparently. So lucky for them eh!
As a QVC presenter I often get given samples to trial and I take pride in trialling a sample product properly. Its vital for good salesmanship. So when I talk about it on air, I may have bought it if I said I have, or I may have been given it as a trial. Well in China QVC there is no trial samples process – yet. That means the presenter does not have the chance to do what we do. So this week the three of us on the knowledge share (or kShare as they call it for short) suggested that they have the samples signing out process. This is a picture of the meeting.
Mr Li the host trainer is on the right in the blue shirt. Hope it works well after we return!
This eve we were taken to lovely duck restaurant by the MD – definitely the best food so far – I had lots of tasty veggie options, Yum!
Back to the Hotel for a chat with Keelan, Marina and co. Tho meant I’m in bed bit late tonight. Hope you enjoy the update! Ps driving home featured lots of shopping streets lit up like a Christmas tree!
Day 17 – Tiana B
Look who I found fresh from the UK it’s Joanne from Tiana B – fab dress range. I’ve posted a little clip on my Facebook page of what it’s like to watch one of our English-speaking guests being translated on QVC China.
Today Keelan and I did a joint class about how to order – or call to action as we call it in the industry. Gosh it was so hot in that room but everybody seems to like it. So when he left I got everybody to do a little short call to action on their iPhones so they can watch it after and we can show the people who weren’t there.
In the car on the way home we were discussing how they deal with the traffic and Yee, my translator, told me that on certain days of the week some people are not allowed to drive their cars within the 5th Ring Road. In total there are five Ring roads – like the M25 plus another four inside. What happens is that if your numberplate ends with a two or seven for instance then on Wednesdays you can’t drive in the city between 7 AM and 8 PM. I guess it must help but they’ve got a long way to go. It was quite smoggy today.
At lunchtime we went to our favourite noodle bar and Kealan had his first veggie meal for many years if not ever – ha ha. Aubergine and vegetable dish. Yum!
When we got back to the Oakwood there was a residents barbecue which was lovely – have a look at the video.
Tomorrow is my final day in the office then it’s two more days and I’ll be home.
Day 18 – last day at the office…
Had a super last day, jam packed end to end. Included meetings with the head honcho, and a night out with Craig, Keelan and Marina. The lovely presenting team got me a super T-shirt with pictures of them on front and back and ‘we will overcome’ as a slogan – ha ha! I will definitely miss them and have enjoyed my time. I lost count of the number of people who said “please don’t go we will miss you”! Maybe I will be able to go back sometime.
So this evening I had another first – we went on a mini pub crawl after dinner. It ended up being a late one as we went back to a Hotel to meet Craig’s wife where a mini-party was going on as well. I bailed early though as I’m a lightweight and got a taxi back to the hotel and was so grateful to shower – it’s been stifling hot here and have sweated buckets all day #toomuchinformation ha ha.
Couldn’t resist posting this one of Ali Y and Mr IT!
[Having trouble viewing this video? See YouTube’s Help page]
Next week, a fabulous TiFFT* – my first ever go at flying a helicopter! Yes really! lol. Have a fab week. Home Saturday, on air Monday 4th, including Richard Jackson’s Garden – whoop!
*TiFFT – Try it For the First Time Club!
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