Friday, November 30, 2007


Karaoke or KTV as it is known here is more that signing songs, it’s a national sport in China. Family members, friends but also work colleagues gather in a multitude of small private and soundproofed rooms with sofa, TV screen, maracas and 2 microphones for some powerful duets… And they take it pretty seriously.

Always ready for a good laugh we decided with a group of friends that we should give it a try under the guidance of May who can at least speak and read Chinese (and sing too we would found out!). After several rounds of email we set up a date, to realize that everybody bailed out but 4 of us (Only the best… the Crème de la crème!). So here are some pictures of us enjoying drinks, chips and some really cool “western” songs. We’ll be back to sing in Chinese but first we need to brush up on our Chinese characters to be able to follow the rhythm! The best part of the night was probably the really, really cheesy videos that went with the songs.

Don't we look like we are professionals?

Please beware… you might NOT want to push the ‘Play’ button.

The Good and...

And especially NOT this one!!

...The Ugly!

Monday, November 26, 2007

One After The Other...

After last year visit from Jacques Chirac (希拉克 - Xi La Ke), the new French president Sarkozy (萨科奇 - Sa Ke Qi) also came to Beijing to pay me a visit. As the former president, the current one (among signing lots of big deals and talking about politic of course) went to Xi’an and invited the French People to a little gathering to hear him say what apparently they wanted to hear!.

While Chirac invited them (I personally couldn’t make it) at a posh hotel (The Peninsula), Sarkozy chose to receive his ‘concitoyens’ in the new “it”* place in Beijing: the 798 art district in Dashanzi. The other difference between the 2 presidential visits in less than a year is that Nicolas’ “Bernadette” didn’t come (divorce was the excuse this time!) so we didn’t get any cute picture of Cecilia riding a rickshaw! No word however on what his mom, who was with him, did

First the invitation:
With my own name on it!!

Then the man!:
The "Petits Fours" were plenty... in comparison to the previous visit (or that's what the words on the street were)

* It's so the “It” place right now that it seems like I’m there all the time. First of all I like to walk around the alleys of this up and coming art district, then we went for the opening of the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA) a couple of weeks ago and next week the French Community and their Association Pekin Accueil will have their Christmas dinner there too.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Money, Money, Money...

...Make The World Go Round

This is with what you have to walk around Beijing when you need to pay for something (in our case our flight for our next vacation) since Beijing is pretty much a cash society.
Because the largest bank note is 100 rmb which is roughly 10 €, well actually 9.2€ now (or $12.5, $13 or $13.5… as time past!!!) you carry a lot of paper for not a lot of money.

Let's go spend some cash!!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

A Visit to Grandma...

...For Thanksgiving

Not that grandma (that would be Cindy, since Bernadette doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving and we call her Mamie), no we went down the street to Grandma’s kitchen and had a lovely meal of Turkey with Cranberry sauce, mash potatoes, pumpkin pie, etc, etc…. Not as nice as a family gathering but since it probably was one of the first time we celebrated since leaving the States, nobody’s complaining!!

Almost like home!

Monday, November 19, 2007

East Vs West

I was browsing on the web when I came upon this culture comparison between Germany and China… But it could be true with almost any other Western country…

First Set
Second Set
Third Set
Click on the picture to enlarge
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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Expat' Life Explained To...

...Expat' Wives

INN is a social organization that was established more than 10 years ago by a group of expatriates living in Beijing. International Newcomers’ Network is a resource to obtain information and a support network and provides an opportunity to meet friends (Here’s for the pep talk!).

What started as mainly a monthly meeting on the last Monday of each month when I first arrived in Beijing (and where I met most of my current friends) has now outreached to monthly Happy Hours, Social Neighborhood Coffee Morning, Outings and monthly Big Brekkie where usually a special guest speaker is invited to give a talk. This month Robin Pascoe who once lived in Beijing and writes books on the many challenges of expatriation (be marriage, raising nomad kids, or even repatriation) was the guest speaker. Robin was on an Asian tour which took her from Hong Kong to Tokyo, via Beijing and Seoul: 25 lectures in 3 weeks.
Not only is she a great writer and any person who deals with expatriation can relate with what she writes in her books but she’s a great speaker as well.
I bought her books and I’m sure I will see myself in many of them…

For more information:

Tuesday, November 13, 2007



I have no idea what to say about that… this is information without investigation!!... Where do they find them that’s what I wonder

Used condoms that have been reprocessed into rubber bands and hair ties have been sold in Dongguan, Guangdong Province, raising concerns about public health.
In addition to being sold at local bazaars, the recycled condoms have been found at local beauty salons in the prosperous Pearl River Delta city, according to Guangzhou-based New Express Daily(…)
Local doctors have warned that using these rubber bands could lead to the spread of AIDS, genital warts and other sexually transmitted diseases.
"There are a lot of bacteria and viruses on the rubber bands and hair ties made from used condoms," a dermatologist at the Guangzhou Hospital of Armed Police, who asked to be identified by his surname Dong, said.
"People could be infected with AIDS, warts or other diseases if they hold the rubber bands or strings in their mouths while weaving their hair into plaits or buns," Dong was quoted as saying by the paper. (…)
A bag of 10 recycled hair ties costs only 25 fen (3 cents) at local markets, which is much less than the normal rate for such products, the paper said.
Many sellers have refused to reveal where they got their products and whether they had been made from recycled condoms, saying it was commercial secret.
But insiders said some of the rubber bands and hair ties could have been made from imported overseas rubbish. Local entertainment venues were also said to have contributed condoms.
An official from the Guangzhou administration of industry and commerce said it was against the law to make or sell goods made from used condoms.(ChinaDaily)

Blogging is becoming easier, just… cut and paste!!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

To Go Shopping...

...Or Not To Go

Well this is why I have decided not to go grocery shopping anymore… It takes too much of my time (queuing since 4am!) and it’s way too dangerous!!

Three people died and 31 were injured during a Saturday morning shopping stampede at a Carrefour supermarket in Chongqing, southwestern China. The supermarket was closed after the accident, reports on the People's Daily website said. A sale on a five-liter bottle of cooking oil caused the stampede. The supermarket lowered the oil's price to 39.9 yuan from 51.4 yuan ($1.5 or 20%) to celebrate the store's 10th anniversary. A large crowd had waited outside the store from 4 am until the supermarket opened at 8:40 am. The shoppers rushed in all at once, causing the deaths and injuries. (ChinaDaily)

UPDATE 13.11.2007
China has banned time-limited sales promotions in retail outlets following a stampede at a Carrefour supermarket. The Ministry of Commerce ordered local authorities across China to overhaul safety requirements in shops to prevent similar occurrences, said a statement dated Monday on its website. "In order to eliminate safety concerns, companies are required not to organise time-limited sales promotions which may lead to traffic congestion, bodily harm and disorderly conduct," it said.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Something Happened...

...That's For Sure

The key words seem to be there…it just a matter of putting the sentence together yourself.

It probably makes more sense in Chinese

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Little Known Fact...

...Wifes Are Always Right!

After weeks of nagging from my dear half about how cold our apartment is (check this post to know how winter and heating work in Beijing!)… I finally had it this morning and decided to clear some time in my busy schedule (do I have to remind anybody that I actually do not work if you associate work with paycheck but I do work anyhow) to go buy an electric heater (dian nuan3qi4 - 电暖气).

First of all, how do you choose one heater over another one when you don’t have a clue of what the labels say…. Well you go with the one which doesn’t feel too cheap and the prettiest!!!

Here’s our new home addition:

Our new toy?!

Secondly, after a long day of lunch and foot massage with my friend (I just said that it happened that today my schedule was clear!!) I go pick up my daughter from the bus stop and decide to have a glance at the notice board in our building to see what new Chinenglish message the management put up…. And what do I see: “We, the management, would like to inform the tenants that the heating system will be up starting…………yes you guessed it: November 6th.

What I don’t understand is how someone (my husband!) can put the A/C on in the summer to 20°C (75°F) but cannot stand it when it’s actually 20°C in our apartment in November!!!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Too Much Staff

...Too Much Time

This is what happens when you have too many people on your pay roll… you’ve got to find them something to do:

Let's go vacuum and polish the driveway

Saturday, November 3, 2007


Yesterday night was the opening of the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Dashanzi, the Art District of Beijing. My friend Magali’s husband (she’s the Secretary of Pékin Accueil, the French association that takes up all of my time, hence the huge delay in my postings) is the managing director and kindly invited us for the “Glamorous” Opening Party.

Here’s an article of the UCCA museums and the party.

Friday, November 2, 2007

The Fruit of Our Labor

...Chloe and I

Chloe for posing for the photos and me for waiting a whole day in the middle of nowhere!!

Click on the picture to enlarge