Blessed to be a witness

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Thursday, February 24

Shop till you drop

Went to pick up the invitations: "His Excellency requests the presence of... etc." Problem is, we only have skuzzy traveller clothing. So this day has been taken up with clothes shopping - a hard task if you're a tall woman with long legs like M. Of course I had few problems, being of similar height, if not width, to Chinese men. Hours and hours and hours it took, but eventually we got enough glad rags, at some considerable expense, which we're going to have to send back home to justify buying them. M even found boots to fit, though this involved us walking about five miles to find an obscure Chinese shop in the back streets.

We also discovered that, while Shanghai is sponsored by McDonald's, Beijing is sponsored by KFC - the tourist train in Wangfujiang, the shopping area, is emblazoned with the fried chicken logo (the real one, not the knock-off). Sponsorship is everywhere. The handrests in the buses are sponsored, and the urinals in the Museum of the Revolution are sponsored by - I kid you not - Golden Water Bridge Ltd.

Decided that our hostel was way too cold to stay in any more, so booked into a new place for tomorrow. It's the same price but much cleaner and warmer, and closer to the embassy (not really relevant, since we're getting taxis to and from the do).

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