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As will the food – the seemingly endless food – and the variety-style programmes on television that everyone was glued to and that seemed to go on for days.
It was a wonderful, if at times tiring and baffling celebration, but was something that I wouldn’t have missed for the world, and that I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to experience if it wasn’t for Lila.
We travelled together throughout China often, and as well as going to the places one might expect, we also went off the beaten track a good deal.
I know this would have been considerably more difficult without Lila by my side, handling the many frustrations that one encounters when trying to get about in China. Being with Lila meant that I ate food that I would never have had the courage to order on my own (even when my Mandarin got good enough to read menus for myself), and discovered some rare treats, as well as some dishes I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.
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However, in the end, the distance didn’t present too much of a difficulty as I would generally fly up to Beijing on a Friday afternoon/evening and return to Shanghai on Sunday night (in fact, the hardest part of the journey was aways the appalling queues for a taxi at Hongqiao Airport late on Sunday evenings).
Having a Chinese girlfriend enriched my stay in China in so many ways.
Mon-Sat 10am-7pm, Sun midday-5pm Shop 212, Prince’s Building, 10 Chater Road, Central 2525 2803 50 years of selling handicrafts, silk dresses, porcelain and an impressive array of other Chinese arts and crafts, there’s a lot of good quality pieces here, particularly if you’re looking for jade.You can generally trust the wares, though prices can be high. For many expats moving to Shanghai or Beijing, dating can be a vexed question.Spending Chinese New Year in Beijing with Lila and her family was undoubtedly one of the highlights of my entire time in China.Watching very elderly men and women delightedly messing with extremely lethal firecrackers in small, confined courtyards, and the sheer terror I experienced when a rogue firework almost took my head off will live with me for ever.