Freda and Tessa in the Beijing Metro.
In fact, there's no competition. Our Beijing life is completely dull compared to the festivities of the other half of the family - folk festivals, tea festivals, parades and midday bai jiu. All I can manage is to lament - dry weather, flaking skin and hard pavements. Maybe it's just being surrounded by enormous amounts of concrete that makes walking seem more tiring. We're getting around the city by the very user-friendly underground system. Freda likes to join the small gathering of 40+ men at the front of the train to look over the driver's shoulder down the long, dark track and into the illuminated stations. It's great seeing the world from the other side of the perspex safety screens.

Freda gave some more blood today, for the lab to test for 148 different allergies, as well as lactose intolerance. I think the months of ill-health are building up and she broke down in tears today, after being incredibly brave and pragmatic so far. The nurses struggled to find a vein and eventually managed a slow trickle of blood, enough for the tests. Apparently we won't get any of the results back until next Thursday. Ali has been relaying messages back to VSO London Medical Unit, who have advised we stay in Beijing until the tests come back. As Coeliac is a condition that is incurable, and necessitates significant dietary changes (well, depending on one's default diet I suppose), it's important we confirm one way or another. If it's lactose causing the problems, she may grow out of it. Being in Beijing with French bakeries and Subway sandwiches would have been such a treat under different circumstances. I'm showing solidarity to Freda and resisting the temptation.

We have a couple of friends in Beijing, but it's hard to muster up the energy to leave the warmth of our little hotel room. I suspect I'm feeling a tad low myself, and in such circumstances am inclined to cut myself off. Despite having access to our blog I am unable to use our email account here so feel a bit isolated. 

In the absence of any exciting news or colourful photos, we'll leave it at that.

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