The bakery at the bottom of our apartment complex has a range of hidden gems... from Matcha turtle bread (yes - this is normal!) to fresh fruit iced tea and homemade sandwiches. Perfect for that little post work treat after a long day, have a natter in the sunshine and get some energy before tackling the hill home... Or just somewhere to get out of the house on a lazy Sunday!! Now to get one our TA's to translate the menu to find out what other things there are to try... more photos to follow.
"Just think of happy things and your heart will fly on wings, forever in Never Never Land" Peter Pan
What a treat - a Saturday off work! After a cooler week (in the 20s!), it was lovely to see the sunshine again. Making the most of this I enjoyed my first breakfast out on our balcony and took time out from China life and headed off to India for a while.
Heading off on the bus for lunch, I wandered around Sun City Mall (one we went to in our first week here) and met some friends in this little tucked away treat of a cafe! I would say the only thing Chinese about this place is the tea (and the toilet)!! You honestly could be anywhere.
With a chilled James Blunt, Adele vibe soundtrack I enjoyed a delicious salad, homemade iced lemon tea, raspberry tea and cranberry cookies mmm! The theme in the cafe is travel, based upon Peter Pan's Neverland, so it is filled with postcards and travel recommendations so whilst sat updating the blog I was drawn to thinking of the next exciting places we can go and explore... A place where you are encouraged to escape from daily life and plan your next adventures.
Dinner treat: Chinese BBQ
After a long Saturday hosting the local school group Swimming Gala (170 races!!) not to waste the weekend, Michelle and I went exploring to another area of the city, whilst Matt and Ben (her husband) went to a kick boxing event. Beijing road is quite a touristy area with a long pedestrianised road buzzing with people out shopping, eating and having a good time! There are lots of Chinese shops; selling the classic waving cats and other touristy things but also Chinese clothes shops and western style clothing. And then you come across this huge temple (next to a mall!), with a TV screen streaming a live video link to a monk who is speaking to people in the street.
We found a tea and dim sum (Chinese dumplings) restaurant for dinner which was so busy (all in Chinese - so it was pot luck what we ordered!!) We especially liked the sweet breads with a custard paste in the middle - that were penguins!
On our walk back to the metro we walked past several heaving stores, when we looked they were going wild for a fruit pic'n'mix!! Their crazy end to a Saturday night!
With Tanzania fast approaching, putting off the registration of the doctors out here was no longer an option. After all the fiasco with the banks and medical centres here, I was dreading going to the doctors for anything. But...I was pleasantly surprised!! With out health and medical insurance we get here, there are a few different centre's you can use and EurAm came highly recommended. It was very simple, fill out some details, waited about 5 minutes, then saw the Dr. asked for Malaria tablets and 5 minutes later we were walking out armed against those little mozzies!! Beating any experience of the doctors back home. To celebrate our China life win, Kate and I got some Passionfruit iced green tea YUUMMM. Another place I would recommend going to and lots of cakes to tempt you as well. Then I got squished on the metro in peek get out of the city after work time - FUN. After that experience and seeing the buses, I ran home the 3km from Tonghe metro station rather than get the bus; much rather my own sweat than smelling someone elses haha!!
To celebrate Kate's birthday a group of us headed to Canton Place, one of the more expensive areas of the City very close to the Pearl River and Canton Tower. There was a real feel of a European city in Canton Place, with lots of deli's, restaurants, book shops all circled around a central plaza with lots of outdoor dining, greenery and a lot of westerners were in this area. We ate at 'Element Fresh' which had so many western healthy options, juices, cocktails and just so yummy!! Matt and I will definitely be coming back here to explore the food options a bit more (and get some better photos in the day!) and the journey on the metro/bus took about 40 minutes door to door which was very good.
We went back to the Western market to purchase a few goodies and found a new mall which was a lot less in your face and the shop assistants just let you browse rather than hound you and give you lots of outfits to try!! The malls are different in this area as it is very open, like a market, and each shop has their own booth. This mall, U:US Guangzhou, had 9 floors of women and men's good quality but reasonably priced clothes and on the top floor lots of restaurants and cafes. Chois Coffee does an incredible grapefruit lemonade which was so refreshing and if you come across one of these places - you must try!
It was sad to pack our bags up after 4 days here (as we travelled Sunday and Friday) and in hindsight we should have come for a bit longer but I guess holidays always have to come to an end. Some (rare) photos of us together to round up the first holiday destination visited and heres hoping that you will all still speak to us when we get home... cold and wet UK will be a shock in December!!
A short boat trip out to sea allowed us to visit the UNESCO World Heritage site that is the Underground River. We travelled through it by paddle boat with two other people when it first opened in the morning - the best time to go. Throughout the cave network that we could access there are various stalagmites and stalactites which have formed over millions of years and many have created formations that look like things; a bit like cloud formations! For example there was the 'Cathedral' area (big open space with a high ceiling in the cave) which had formations that could be likened to The Last Supper. There were also a lot of bats and the in ear headset told us all about different parts of the cave. I did not take any pictures as it was so dark and there was only the head torch of the guy paddling our boat so they would have looked awful - but well worth a visit if you are travelling to Palawan.
After the first day we ventured along the beach past the Sheridan Resort and there were plenty of restaurants, massage parlours and little souvenir shops before you got to the harbour/ferry port area (their ferry was the little Philippine boats which hold 8 people)! Here are some pictures of the rest of the Sabang beach area. And one showing the mountains and how it was not always bright sunshine here!!