Home for one night...re pack the next morning, go to work and then get a driver to HONG KONG! The boys were off to Macau (very exciting...David Beckham posted on Instagram that he was there too - but they didn't bump into him!!) us girls thought it was a great excuse for cocktails, brunch and shopping! Hong Kong is a couple of hours away from Gaungzhou on the train and it took us 2.5hrs by car straight to the hotel. We stayed in the Wan Chai district and headed out for a dinner at 'The Optimist' which is known for it's tapas style dishes and grill menu. Their gin cocktails were also pretty special!!
After dinner we headed to Woomoomaloo, a rooftop bar - with spectacular views of the city...
The next day we headed over to Causeway Bay to a cute little place for brunch, called Elephant Grounds. We did some shopping around here and then got the metro (which is really easy...buy a pre paid Octopus card which saves hassle going to ticket machines) to the central area.
Here, there were lots of shops - naming a few: Topshop, Zara and Marks & Spencer!! Topped up on Percy Pigs and enjoyed a bit more familiarity. Also there were a lot of Christmas decorations up, so started to get more into the Christmas spirit! Enjoyed a cheeky cocktail at the Mercedes bar (with a ginormous ice cube) before heading back to the hotel for a nap and to get ready for our night out!
That evening we headed to The Globe, a nice pub with a good atmosphere, food and drinks. A friend that I used to work with at Bohunt, now lives in Hong Kong, so he came and met us for a few drinks which was so lovely! Weird seeing someone so familiar in a place I had never been before but was now so close!
After this we went to a quirky bar with live music, The Iron Fairies on the way to Lan Kwai Fong (where most of the bars and clubs are). This place had real butterflies hanging from the ceiling, little booths made of old submarine pods, fairy dust and just a fun vibe. The live band were equally as amazing and the place was full of people dancing, singing and having a great time. After being here for a few hours we ventured out to a few other bars in LKF which were so busy and a lot of Westerners there which felt a bit more like being in any other city in the world!
The next day, Kate and I were getting an early train so we headed off to the IFC mall for breakfast at Pret A Manger!! And then got the double decker train back to Guangzhou East station.
I cannot wait to go back to Hong Kong again, do some more touristy bits and go and hunt down some of the recommendations Emma has kindly given us!! Great weekend...and only 13 more teaching days till we fly home :-)
FOBISIA - The Federation of British International Schools in Asia
I was lucky enough to be with the U15 girls team which were off to this big sporting event the day after International day for 3 days of competition against 6 other schools.
The place we stayed was Thanyapura Sports Complex which was the most incredible place for athletes to stay. They have Olympic and International squads which stay and train here as well as Ironman and triathlon athletes to name but a few. The facilities are on one campus and a stones through from the beach for open water swimming, there is also a range of cafés and restaurants as well providing top food for athletes. It was great to be in such a sporting excellence environment rather than in a school where a lot of other tournaments are held.
Both boys and girls teams started at the pool with the swimming events taking place in the morning, then heading down to the track for the athletics in the afternoon. Our team finishing 4th overall in the two events, gaining individual and relay medals along the way. All in 30 degree heat - I was grateful for the ice bags we got to take with us to cool us all down!!
As staff we could get up and use the gym and pool facilities which was great as we could get in our exercise before the students were up!! Also there was a lot of good food so needed to justify the need to eat more haha.
The girls had a football tournament today, playing all 6 schools in 30 minutes matches - again in strong heat! Overall came 5th, with strong performance of 4-2 against the winners of the tournament, so we were happy with that! The boys played basketball making it to the semi finals and losing to the overall winners.
The most emotional day for tired girls who played their hearts out in the basketball and came up against some aggressive teams and just missed out in a place in the semi finals in an incredibly fought game!! Rounded it up with a game against the Korean school there that they had all made friends with which was nice. Had a gala dinner and disco in the evening which was fun for the students...and our staff - the only ones who joined in on the fun and not sat around the edge on our phones like others!!
Michelle and I had fun on our first FOBISIA experience with our girls, Luís and his boys squad. Lots of wonderful memories and friendships made; made sweeter that we were in Thailand! Matt is going for the U13 and I might be going again with the U11 in May - who knows yet... let's hope so!
Every year the school host a huge festival-esque event to celebrate all the different nationalities at the school and across the world. It is hard to explain, but each year group has a country and need to run a stall to make money for our charity we help as a school; Hopeful Hearts. There is live music, dancing, entertainment and outside vendors as well. As PE we were on the climbing wall and raised money that way. There were sporting challenges, tombolas, karaoke...lots! There was some good food and drinks on offer as well which was exciting as we got time to wander around and sample whilst the event was on. And then a lot stay in the afternoon/evening for the staff party!!
A busy week in PE, with Weds Y1 and 2 sports day; Thursday Y3 and 4 and Friday Y5-13 sports days! The younger ones had sports day on school grounds with lots of medals to be won and the Friday event was all at a University athletics stadium which was great - but at times very random! When we were setting up for the day as it is open to the public there were people running around the track doing their exercise. One guy wanted pictures with the big sports day cup and with us - very funny. At one point DURING sports day, we were just about to start a race and an old man was cycling up the 100m straight!!! So funny. All in all, was a great day and ran really smoothly.
Amongst the madness of the 3 days, I did go out to "Tristian's", a mexican restaurant in the city with our staff netball team at school. It was a lovely evening and the food was good - a nice change from the usual rice. Someone did take a group photo but I cannot find it so this was a nice alternative!!
On Sunday I attended a remembrance service in the South of the City on Shamian Island. It was held by the British and Canadian Consulates in a lovely little church. The service was lovely and students from our school read a lovely poem and we were able to lay wreaths to commemorate all those fighting for our country. Afterwards we went the 'White Swan' a nice hotel on the Island for afternoon tea. For a few hours, it felt like we could have been anywhere and it did feel very homely.
And then you step outside and you have couples dolled up in their full wedding attire taking picturesque photos (before they are married, seriously, weeks before...that is how it goes here) in the middle of the streets and you realise you are very much in China!!
Shamian Island has a French/British feel with avenues of European style buildings lined with trees, after the French and British used it as a port during the 19th Century. It was used as an important port for these countries, with access across the river to the 'mainland' only by 2 bridges which were closed at 10pm each night for security reasons!! A lovely and more peaceful place to visit and explore.
One thing which has stuck with me from when I was little was Grandad saying that he is off to Africa...I am not sure why it began nor why I remember it, but it became a running joke in the family. I never thought I would be the first Broad to go to Africa (sorry Grandad) and so this post is an insight into my adventure here in East Africa in Arusha on the USA River.
I was incredibly lucky to join the Year 12 trip to TANZANIA, from October 24th to November 2nd, spending 7 nights in Africa. I won't go into huge detail about my unbelievable experience here as it would take too long but give you a snippet into what I was up to and show you some of my favourite pictures. I hope you enjoy and I look forward to telling you more stories in person...
Travelling and arrival day
I didn't quite anticipate the length of the flight to actually get here - but after a transfer in Doha and 24 hours of travelling later...we arrived! The camp is rented by Nord Anglia, so that their schools come and stay across the year to help on charity projects. So the facilities are brilliant, big tents with a nice wash block, immaculate grounds and even a pool - and don't get me started on the food... so the 'camping' experience was nothing like I had experienced before!!