HUAIROU, Beijing Province:
Had a lie-in, nursing two days worth of hangover, and then we went to Jing Bei to find a gift for Tony's parents, as we were going to theirs for dinner. Couldn't find any flowers or reasonably priced chocolates, and after asking cultural advice for what-not-to-get, clocks were off the list too.. Instead, we settled for some tasty looking cookies from a local bakery.
We were picked up by Tony and his Mum, who also picked up Rick and his Mum. Tony's apartment is quite far away, but it was really nice. A lot warmer than ours!
They brought out loads of nuts and fruit and popcorn, so both Sarah and I assumed that was the meal, but after an hour or we were sat round a table and given this potato-pumpkin soup stuff, and loads of shredded vegetables and bread. It was actually OK, I was half-expecting to have to force minging food down!
They'd made a real effort actually, especially considering both me and Sarah are vegetarians - a concept most Chinese people don't understand!
After dinner we were taught how to play Chinese Chess - similar-ish to English Chess, but some of the pieces move in different ways, and the actual pieces look different. Instead of little models, all the pieces are wooden counters with the Chinese symbol of the piece on it - makes it quite difficult if you can't read Chinese!