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Today has been an interesting day. After a visit to the Forbidden City this morning with Keith [Longmore, Communications Director], Simon [Harper, Press and PR Officer] and Paul [Grist, Company Manager], where we met up with Kirsty Mack the Events Manager from Birmingham University, the boys went off to have some duck – we couldn’t fit into our jeans so went off to do some shopping!

We took a rickshaw (with one crash and a very close near-miss!) to the Silk Street Market – 6 floors of shopping mecca. We bartered, haggled and physically tussled but hopefully have come away with some bargains; it’s hard to tell! I’ve been told that I drive a hard bargain and am a ‘very hard lady’ – so beware!

Then I left Kirsty and jumped in to a taxi, heading to the hotel or so I thought – only to be chucked out in some strange destination where there were no Westerners to be seen and no-one spoke English. So I joined a queue for a taxi and hoped for the best. Eventually I got into a taxi that didn’t seem to know where the hotel was – even though I had a Chinese translation in the blue book!

Panic began to set-in as my phone’s battery was dying, I had very little money, no idea where I was and no idea of the language. Thank God I was a Girl Guide many years ago! After several minutes of shouting very loudly at each other trying to make ourselves understood, we finally got to Tiananmen Square, stopped shouting at one another and got on the main road to the hotel.

I got back to the hotel to find a stack of e-mails about Saturday and once I’d dealt with those, there was just time for a quick shower before getting ready to head into the theatre (and the nightly fun of trying to do my hair with cold tongs – the plug just won’t stay in the wall!).

Security at the theatre in Beijing is so tight that absolutely no-one is allowed inside the building without either a ticket or a security pass – which presents something of a problem when you’re expecting 27 people (who aren’t watching the show) for a reception. All in all, it was a bit of a hairy nightmare – but hopefully Birmingham University, Michael Shepherd (their new Vice-Principal) and the alumni were pleased with what we managed to achieve.

In addition to all of this, we also managed to squeeze in a very last-minute interview with Lei Zhao for the China Daily. The newspaper also ran a generic feature about the Company’s visit to China earlier in the week. Click here to take a look.

Thinking of you all,

Angela

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