Lesley visited the VSO office and spent the day arranging childminders for Freda and Edie over the next few days. They will be living it up in the hotel. Believe me, that’s a luxury. Our suite is more luxurious than our Simao flat and the meals. Well, let’s just say the tailor was wise allowing an extra inch in our newly made clothes!
The programme for the next few days is:
a.m. “Expository Meeting” – apparently a speech from the Bureau (not sure which), probably all the rules and restrictions for the coming days.
p.m. Friendship Award Ceremony at the Great Hall of the People on Tiananmen Square
eve. Photos back at hotel with Freda and Edie!
a.m. Free (to recover from the fabulous breakfast of cereal, croissants, bacon, fresh fruit juice, real coffee etc etc
p.m. State Leaders meet Friendship Award winners and spouses at the Great Hall of the People, followed by National Day Banquet, same venue
a.m. Military parade on Tiananmen Square with State Leaders
p.m. Some other even on Tiananmen Square (all very secret at the moment; ‘no need to know’ basis)
eve. National Day Evening Party on Tiananmen
Offering us help with Freda and Edie are some VSO friends – Kruti, who works as a volunteer in the VSO Programme Office; Eilidh (from Kingussie!), who works as a volunteer with a small human rights organisation in Beijing; Wang Yanhui, the VSO Programme Support Officer for Basic Education. Thanks to their support Ali and I can take part in this special programme of events to celebrate 60 years of the People’s Republic of China. Whatever one’s political orientations, this is an historical moment.