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Chiang Mai 2 - Prem Center

Having seen all the family in the summer for our wedding, we came back to Beihai for our first Christmas in the new house. Shanhong had ordered a whole pile of decorations from Ikea, duly collected, boxed, and forwarded by her long-suffering brother, which together with what we found in local shops and what we had already got together - meant we were able to 'decorate' properly - my mum will be proud!

 

We also bought a tree and decorations for Shanhong's parents - so they could also celebrate! On Christmas Day however, they came to us and opened a few presents we had kept for them under our tree. The Christmas meal certainly wasn't traditional - Shanhong had just bought a hotplate - so it was a 'hotpot' for lunch and a cake full of tinned fruit and cream rather than dried fruit and brandy!

 

It may not have been quite the same as a Christmas in Shrewsbury (although due to illness and a death in the family, Shrewsbury didn't see its normal Christmas this year), but we had fun all the same! Quite a lot has changed in the house since the first house report, and so I thought I would take this opportunity to send an update! Hope you like the changes (those of you who actually remember what it looked like originally!).

 

The final photos were taken during the Christmas break outside Shanhong's parent's house and in front of the musical fountain. Oh - and Teddy wanted to show you a new outfit!

 

As I write this, we are about to return to Thailand - it is likely we shall be moving next summer, probably to work in Beijing, so getting home will be a lot easier. No doubt the house will continue to develop - there are plans for window seats and if only I can persuade Shanhong, a new bathroom downstairs!

Trevor & Shanhong.

 

This report was written in Beihai in July 2007 – but unfortunately got left on the computer there! As we were back in October, I managed to copy it onto a portable hard-drive, and so here it is, better late than never! Enjoy! We spent the first half of the Summer 2007 break back at home in Beihai, an opportunity to update a few things around the house, and explore the area further. Changes to the house included adding extractor fans and heat lights to bathrooms, adding net curtains, putting up a few pictures, and buying a new bed and 'office' furniture. The pictures below show some of the 'afters'.

 

We also decided to do something for Shanhong's parents. They have also bought a house in Beihai, but an older house ... we decided to update the kitchen. The before, during and after follows! I have no wish to upset my own mother who has wanted a new kitchen for years - but this whole thing cost just £170 !

 

Apart from the above, it has been a restful time! I completed two modules of my course, and watched every episode of Cadfael ever shown. I've also read three books and completed a new computer game. We were sent some DVDs and also found a DVD shop - very cheap (although quality varies). Shanhong bought a DVD which had over six hours of a Chinese soap opera - so she has been happy too! We've been to our local beach often, both with miles of sand when the sea was out, and watched the waves crashing over the wall when the tide was in and a tornado passing. It really is fantastic to have the ocean so close! We've been to see the 'famous?' fountains - and enjoyed the show - watching from the beach as 'important people' were exclusively using the proper seats. We will have to go back with a video camera to get some photos, the one in the middle below was the only one I could find on the net! The other photos were daytime with the fountain not in use.

 

We made a few little trips, one was to the nearby island of Weizhou. A 50 minute journey by fast catamaran took us directly from Beihai (5 minutes from the house on the bike) to the landing pier of Weizhou. Quickly selecting a motorbike 'taxi' to take us to all the places of interest, we were off! The sun was hot, the scenery good... and then the heavens opened... we were soaked - thoroughly drenched... never mind! One more surprise... our 'taxi driver' insisted on giving us a gift - a whole hand of bananas! Photos are all ours.

 

Another day saw us taking the free supermarket bus out to the old town of HePu. Here we thought be clever and hired another motorbike taxi to take us to all the famous places.... she didn't know any - and there is certainly no tourist set up - most turned out to be inside school grounds or other private places. We still took lots of photos. Perhaps the simplest trip, with the nicest photo - was a ride on our own bike, up the coast to the National Park - just 30 minutes cycle and lovely views of the coast and city.

 

 

So, there you have it, our latest visit - we'll be back at Christmas to finish off! A 'video' of the fountains and of the house will added to the website soon! Keep in touch.

Love to all, Trevor & Shanhong xx

 

In the last report, you saw the house we bought in Beihai, in this one I want to show you the area of Beihai itself, the area immediately around our home. Firstly, as is common in China, the house is built as part of a compound, which means an area which is walled with gates and security, the idea being only people that live there can get into the compound making it more secure. A compound always has a communal outside and ours is no different… this is our compound:

 

Nice, hey? We bought an electric bicycle to get around, and just five minutes from our garage door takes us past a local market to ‘our beach’. These photos are all on ‘our beach’ and yes, it is normally this empty!

 

The crabs are excellent – they scamper over the beach in front of you, diving down into holes as you approach, popping back out as you go past! Thank you, Juliet, for this superb photo – mine didn’t work! Beihai is famous for an area called ‘Silver Beach’. This is a little further from our home, perhaps 15 minutes on the bike. It is a glorious long white-sand beach, a little busier than ours, but still with plenty of room as the photos show.

 

Beihai is also famous for its old town. Zhongshan Street and Zhuhai Street are the two oldest streets in Beihai, built around 1883. Since Beihai became a commercial port in 1876, a number of western companies from countries such as Britain, France, Germany and Holland set up their businesses around this area. The architecture reflects its colonial past with an interesting mix of Chinese and European influence and some extraordinary contemporary structures. It's also the ideal place to stock up on bargain-priced souvenirs.

 

So there you have it, Beihai – our new home. Hope everyone likes it.

Trevor & Shanhong

 

 


Thanks for checking out my blog! Please come back soon for more news and pics from our life.
I‘m Trevor
Let Me Tell You About Myself


I'm half a century old, and have been teaching for a quarter of a century! I have the most beautiful wife, and the best-behaved child ever, and life is good!

I have been living in Singapore for getting on for ten years, having also lived and worked in the UK, Europe, Middle East and other parts of Asia.

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Trevor Hughes

Hi, I'm a British teacher living in Singapore. This blog is to share my daily life and trips. Enjoy!.

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