Wednesday morning I got up early enough to go downstairs to the breakfast buffet, which consists of a variety of Chinese and Western style foods. They have a cereal bar, pastries, an egg station where you can have eggs cooked any way you like, bacon, sausage, and so on, plus fried rice and other Chinese dishes. There are also fruits and cold cuts, including some kind of smoked fish that I really like. While I was eating, another coworker came in and joined me. HC is in town for about a month; he works on the website designs for the Olympic ticket applications.
At 9, several of the rest of the gang met us and we went to the BOCOG (Beijing Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games) building for a meeting. After the meeting, some of us visited the gift shop and bought some official items. I got a baseball cap and a set of the small mascots, the Friendlies (now called Fuwa). Read about them here.
For lunch we decided on a shorter walk and went to KFC. I've seen several of them around town. The weather had cleared up by then and the typical hazy sky had turned an actual shade of blue. It was warm enough I didn't need my jacket. Anyway, the menu was rather different than an American KFC, so I just pointed at combo #2 on the menu, which looked like a chicken sandwich. It came with a very sweet orange soda drink and a little corn salad instead of coleslaw. The sandwich was a little spicy; I will not even hazard a guess what part of the chicken was featured in the meat.
The official contract signing ceremony is coming up Friday morning, so a couple of Ticketmaster bigwigs flew into town Wednesday afternoon. We met up with them at the Raffles Beijing Hotel. HC and I got there early and wandered around looking at the art on display and the fountains. It is quite a place. We had dinner at the restaurant called East 33. If you check out the slideshow on their web site, you'll see some pictures of it. We all opted for the buffet, giving us a huge selection of very nicely prepared dishes. I went for a combination of Western and Asian items. We had some very nice wine, and the desserts were luscious. It was on the way back from there that I saw the rainbow neon over the street.
I went right to bed after getting back to the hotel. It was about 10:30 by then. Once again I woke around 3:30 and slept badly after that.
I had only a half day in the office today, since the afternoon was given over to apartment hunting. More on that later. The interesting part of the day at the office was lunch. We had food delivered from a Pizza Hut that is not far from the office. Delivery in this case meant we paid for the pizza and cab fair for the delivery guy both ways. We got a variety of pizzas, but not many of them would appear on the menu of an American Pizza Hut. One had pineapple, black olives, little chunks of tomato, some kind of chicken meat, fake crab meat, kernels of fresh corn, and mozzarella, and the sauce tasted like 1000 island dressing. Another one had sausage, pepperoni, ham and cheese and didn't seem to have hardly any sauce at all. The seafood pizza had little shrimp, fake crab, calamari rings, little bits of octopus tentacle, pineapple, green pepper, and a sauce that tasted a bit like cocktail sauce. The seafood one was my favorite.
After lunch, BG and I took a cab to her apartment to meet up with our real estate guy. She had already checked out two potential vacant places in her complex, which consists of ten big buildings. Each building has two numbers, split vertically down the middle, so they say there are twenty buildings, but it's just ten structures. The first apartment was on the second floor looking down onto the garden area at the center of the complex. It was pretty nice, with a very large kitchen, but had a kind of dark quality to it.
This is the building with both flats.
The other was on the eleventh floor (though they call it 12 since buildings never have a floor 4 here, 4 being an unlucky number, along with 13 and 14) and has light colored wood floors, and very cheerful light. It also faces onto the central garden, but the extra height gives it views out over the city.
Living room of second flat.
It's a little smaller than the other one, but I liked the feel of it more, and the bathroom was nicer. The kitchen is smaller, but it also has a window to the outside for some natural light, and the washer/dryer is enclosed in its own little room off the kitchen.
I gave to go-ahead on the second place, and if all goes well, I'll be able to move in next week. More on that as things develop.
And as this post is getting a bit long, I'll sign off for now. Time to think about dinner, and I'm on my own tonight.