Hi all! Just to say this week’s blog is a little shorter than usual due to internet access problems over here in Beijing! But here’s week two of Debbie’s China diary update!
If you’d like more info about this week’s Back to You blog, with Patrick from Quacker’s webchat and news from Bodyblade Bruce, just go to http://debbieflint.co.uk/back-to-you.
One thing to tell you is that Laura’s back this weekend – with this fab Today’s Special Value on Sunday– do check it out – info below.
Life in Rose: from Laura Geller
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WEEK TWO OF DEBBIE’S CHINA DIARY
Weekend Shopping and exploring.
OK so after a late night writing, I forgot to put the ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign on the door – eager housekeeping came early – twice – eurgh! Then off to an afternoon’s shopping and getting a massage. ‘My’ driver picked us up – I can use a car outside hours and one weekend day too, so off we went to Sanlitun area. Abbe came (the buyer from QVC US.) First to the massage and nail salon on top floor of a normal small shopping centre, quite modern. Two young masseurs, one doing feet and one doing hands at same time as Abbe got her mani/pedi next to me in a little warm side room with big comfy armchairs. Sounds scintillating? Well not so much – apart from having to keep asking the foot guy not to massage my knee bone, it was ok! Cost 130 RMB which is about £16 for an hour feet and half hour hands! V Cheap. Coffee on the other hand is expensive – about the same as UK.
Had a lovely salad lunch in a slightly westernised coffee cafe, called MOKA Bro’s was fab and very cheap – was almost half as much for the coffee as for the food. Coffee is not so important here, and whilst there’s a Costa and a Starbucks in every shopping centre, its dear, there’s limited choice, and no decaf. E.g. in the famous five floor Silk Market where we went next, in the 5th floor supermarket, it’s mostly those boxes of Nescafe sachets with milk included – yuk.
The Silk Market is full of areas specialising in eg bags, bedding, souvenirs, underwear, tea sets, jewellery etc. and dozens of ‘designer’ brands (wink wink.) Bought a little pair of worry balls, that chime when you rotate them in your hands, and a couple of silk scarves – not cheapy cheap but nice. And you have to barter of course! What began as £28 ended as £18 for instance!
The floors here are like in the US – ‘first’ is ground, and fifth is fourth and so on. And in the hotel lift you have to touch your room card onto a panel before it allows you to press your floor button. That caught me for a while on the first day! lol.
Discovered a quick way of using google translate to communicate with Mr Liu the driver who gets allocated to me – see pic of me saying something like ‘terribly sorry we kept you waiting!’ lol! They use an app here called ‘We Chat’ – like What’s App crossed with Skype crossed with a buying function.
And it was smoggy again today – base level smog apparently, the kind they have most days. You can see it against the buildings in the background near the shopping centre. Came back to relax all night and was so shattered I fell asleep for most of the evening – hence this update being this morning (8am here). Today we are off to the Forbidden City! Whoop! Been here a week already and it’s flying by!
Forbidden City & Tiananmen Square
So today we went to one of the biggest (literally – it’s huge) tourist attractions in Beijing, called the Forbidden City and apparently it’s where the movie ‘Empire of the Sun’ was based on the Last Emperor. I’ve posted a couple of pics here of our trip – in front of various parts of it, and inside in the gardens.
It’s absolutely crazy busy though. It felt like facing an ocean of sharp psyches all hell-bent on getting into/ up to / in front of/ inside the next stop on the audio tour, and they’re not afraid to use elbows, plus personal space here is pretty much ignored. I was told about that before I came so that’s ok. When in Rome… This is us (Marina from QVC Italy and her lovely BF, plus Abbe and me) as we walked outside, inside, and in the garden. And this is a clip of what I’m talking about when I say it’s craaaaazyyyy! (Click here.)
We then walked (stupidly) right around the outside of the walls to get back to meet our driver – should have got a taxi! But at least it made me walk for three hours even if I conked out when I got back to hotel earlier! The walking will be handy for the charity event in mid-May, right! Anyway so you had to go through security both sides of the pavement walkway one side of the square. Like a funnel of Chinese and foreign people all squeezing through three scanners. (like this – click here.)
And once through the barrier, this was the video I took of the square. Click here.
So tomorrow week two commences in Beijing, on my training trip to help QVC China hosts with their ‘telly-selly’ techniques, and I must admit to eating some stuff I haven’t eaten for a while. There was a bit of fatty pork in one of the dishes I had one lunchtime – not many vegetarian options out here that’s for sure! I feel like meat occasionally and when I do feel like it I choose it. But most of the stir fry food is delish. Abbe the lady from QVC US who I hang out with here, took us to a lovely café in the Sanlitun district again today – the café is ‘Moka Brothers’ – it’s pretty westernised.
Made a nice change to get a salad – a reaaaally good one at that! I’m still keeping up my supplements, taking my regular green drink each day, and managing to do my Super6 Bodyblade routine pretty well. Been eating some cr*p tho’ – gonna tighten up this next week.
Tomorrow – one of the most surprising aspects of everyday life in Beijing, alien to us Westerners…
More one to ones today including with pretty AnnYan who brought my translator Yee and me satsumas. She was very good! Watched her sell of a set of 3 pairs of leather loafer type shoes (for about £31. Yes really!) they have 3 models and talk to them each time. When it’s a dress the model will give her height – and weight! Can you imagine asking Brit models to state their weight? Or how it can vary! Their sizing is biggest, 6; smallest 2! (35-38).
My ‘face map’ of hosts is now filling up with 1:1 dates – lots more this week! Helps to identify everyone and I’m getting used to the names! After work went to dumpling restaurant 2 mins from hotel – quite famous in Beijing and so is their dumpling man emblem!
One thing that’s hard to get used to out here – the toilets. Western influence now means many hotels and workplaces will have what they call a ‘potty toilet,’ but CNRmall has more of the native type – ‘squat toilet!’ Yes it’s as it sounds!
Another side effect of the one child policy is the knock on effect of generally no brothers or sisters – namely, that means there are no cousins. Or aunties or uncles or nephews or nieces or sister/brothers-in-law… Makes you think doesn’t it? Tomorrow I have my next group session running through part 1 of my how to do ‘selly-telly’ presentation in PowerPoint. I’m such a geek, I love it!
Also arranged some stuff for later in week! Incl Great Wall on Sunday . Whoop!
Part two of presentation
Soooo tired today. Part 2 of presentation – to second group – today, in a room as hot as the sun. Ok not quite but it was stifling! They have a policy here to not turn on building air con till mid July when temps are in 40s. Mind you it’s supposed to be that on Sunday. On sunday we are supposed to be going to see the Great Wall where the air is thinner and u walk a lot. Apparently! Ohhhh good! Lol. My pal from QVC UK, producer Kealan Duignan, will be here this weekend – his 3 weeks begin then. So will be nice to have a Brit to talk to at normal speed without pre-editing what comes out of my mouth!
Today’s Special Value item was a peculiarly Chinese product – an over bed cover that supposedly keeps you cool made of a thick jacquard style cool-touch poly (if u can imagine!) Everyone sleeps on them when it gets hot apparently, or the traditional ones of bamboo slats or woven grass! My poor chinese translator Yee is having morning sickness as she carries her child. (Remember it’s not the first as there wont be a second, under one child policy.) I’m also running out of almond milk, I got given a can of some to try but i think it’s just almond flavoured ordinary sweet milk so it’ll be green or jasmine tea once my last litre is gone! I’m writing this in the car as driving is so crazy its best not to look! Seriously! Lol!
Some lovely compliments from some of ‘my’ gang today too, about how what I’m doing is helping. Including in a TSV prep meeting for some Ahh bra type products but in a pack of 7, bout £3.50 each, with a pretty lace uplift strap that does up under the bust. Enjoyed telling them some suggestions for lifestyle pieces. They laughed but nodded when i said maybe you can put more than one padded insert into the cups for extra fullness!
It’s 10 pm and we’re sitting here in a side street queue of traffic, after very nice supper at a BBQ place. Yes even at ten at night! And yes, even a BBQ place! Theres only so much grease a girl can stand! Lol!
So today i had another brainstorm session and it emerges that when talking about your little black dress its more likely to be a little patterned dress for older women here, so hosts say.
This morning I sat at my bedroom window getting some vitD, as sun was out – for most of day actually – very strong winds helps blow the dust and smog away…
I had my final biiig group for second part of my ‘How to Sell’ session. (Pic). Tonight’s meal was with us ex pats – Abi, Marina & Roberto, plus VP Craig, who told us some funny stories. Another three days and Kealan from QVC UK will arrive! Yay! Marina and i will look at quick way of setting up a system for loaning samples to presenters before shows, and i have also arranged a meeting with manager of ‘apparel’ to improve the on-air look for hosts. Ten down, 11 days to go! X
Hahaaa! Had a one to one with one of the guys today and he gave me a taste of the Chinese wine pack he was selling on the TV. Turns out the symbols must be Chinese for Rocket Fuel as at 52% proof it nearly blew my head off! #SmallSips!
Also watched the Chinese sell of Vitamix! Plus had another management meeting where customer service stats were discussed, amongst other things. One big difference here us that goods are paid for ON DELIVERY ie old-fashioned COD! Means very different ways of selling for sure. Most places do it like that. The competition, apart from other channels, is the Chinese equivalent of eBay, called Tao-Bao or something. Bigger than amazon here.
Its National Hug Day apparently and I realised i haven’t had one for weeks! Not even from a labrador! Where’s lollipop when u need a daughter?!Or my son? Or Daisy Dog or Craig Rowe! Marina has her BF with her here. Am thinking that I must think about taking some steps to remedy that when I come home!! Lol. Or maybe just hug a dog or two! Haha!! X
The great toilet paper debate! Which one are you?
Vitamix in China
And here’s a little bonus for you – all you Vitamix fans out there – look what they have to pay in China! (£1 = 9 RMB)’
So that’s it for another week! Next week it’ll be Week Three of my China Diary – I come home on Saturday 2nd May. And news of what happens on the Great Wall – we’re going this Sunday, all being well!
strong>PS – *TiFFT – Try it For the First Time Club!
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