Home Christmas party

Party is back

We decided, a bit at the last moment, to have again our home Christmas Party, on Christmas Eve 24 December.
We went for a “reduced” crowd, in our vocabulary that means around close to 50 (including the kids).
We invited the foreign experts of BRITF and a UWEE representative, plus some more friends.

Yes, the usual turkey, the best you can find in this world, everybody gets a bit crazy about it. And many other dishes, all thanks to the chef Sun (she kicks out everybody from the kitchen when cooking).

Performance

Mark Levine and partner Fu Han kindly gave us a short performance, much appreciated. The other musicians present kept a low profile and only joined the chorus.
Our crowd is always a mix of Chinese friends and expats from around the world. All enjoyed the “organized chaos” as I call it.

Our team is highly efficient. Before midnight all was back to “normal” in our office, as the pictures show. For those who joined us, they must be a bit surprised by the (sudden) change.
Thanks also to all the helping hands to finish the preparations, wash all the dishes and clean it all up. And for filling up again my reserve of red wine.

Thanks also for the beautiful flowers, we first thought it was a cake!
And oh yes. Discover an engineer’s Christmas tree.

Unique wine dinner

A gastronomic dinner

To enjoy my rather exceptional wine collection, I organize from time to time a unique wine dinner.
The recipe: tasting very old wines, supplied by me, accompanied by a gastronomic dinner feast organized and personally prepared by Chef Renaat Morel.
See the menu for the dishes and the wine list.

Participants are always carefully selected. This time, Ambassador Nicolas Chapuis (EU) and his wife, Ambassador Marc Vinck (Belgium) and his wife, along with Renaat, Susan, my wife and myself.
As it happens, I know H.E. Chapuis from the nineties when I was working in Shanghai for ALSTOM.
I was again asked for the “occasion”: did I become grandfather? I am since long, nope. It is simply to experiment unusually old wines along with exceptional food, and with nice company. It would be insane to open those bottles at home where I am the only one to drink.

The food and the wine

It was a unique wine dinner as I brought along two bottles of a very famous French wine, exactly one hundred years old. And a Rioja from 1963, plus a not so young Médoc.
See my tools; opening those bottles is pure surgery. Normally impossible to extract the cork without some mess. Then the wines were filtered and transferred to a decanter. See one successful “surgery”:

190626 winedinner

Only the Médoc cork came out nicely.

The verdict? The 1919 wines were just “drinkable” and as one said, tasted a bit like Chinese rice wine. The Spanish one was, as usual, pretty nice.
What counts is the unique experience to say, “I tasted a one-hundred-year old Chateau Lafite (Rothschild)”.

Now I am already thinking of the next wine experiment!

The 2017 Rotaract Gatsby Gala

Team work and enthusiasm

The 2017 Rotaract Gatsby Gala turned out to be a smash, a real success. Our two Rotaract Clubs in Beijing managed the impossible, we were still a bit lost a day before the event but thanks to the enthusiasm of so many involved it was a success. I won’t even try to give names because it was real team work.
As last year the event was held on Saturday 24 June 2017 in the Conrad Beijing Hotel, a nice inside plus outdoors setting. The rain gods were in our favor too, the previous days Beijing saw torrential rains and a major pool party was cancelled the same day by the government because of concerns with the downpours. We nicely escaped it all.
All worked together to promote the evening and to get sponsors on board. See the backdrop with the sponsor list.
See here the promo video (thanks Deliah!!!)

The 2017 Rotaract Gatsby Gala

I will not try to give a “report” here. The pictures and the clips tell the story, just look at all the SMILES.
It was a fun night, nice snacks, lots of beer and wine.

(Pics by Gilbert, Sophie and others)
And dancing went on till late!

(clips by Sophie and others)
Thanks to the great efforts of our Rotaractors, and thanks to the (few) Rotarians who joined the fun.
We now already look forward to the next year’s repeat of The 2017 Rotaract Gatsby Gala!

May Babies Party in Ossie

A special birthday party

The May Babies Party in Ossie was on Saturday 13 May to celebrate the birthdays of William, Peter and Veronica. Some 40 friends joined the lively party with the free flow of beer, wine and snacks.
The great thing about the party was that many people knew each other, quite a number being part of our Old China Hands Monthly Lunch.

Ossie (Aussie) Restaurant & Bar (澳西酒庄&餐吧)

At Aussie Wine Bar they serve an array of wines, beers and authentic culinary dishes ranging from traditional western food to Outback Aussie Steaks. Ossie is the “official” name as Aussie was not legally accepted in Beijing…
To reach: very close to Guangqumenwai subway station, Line 7 exit B
See: https://www.facebook.com/aussiewinebar/
For me the first time to visit the bar but all were impressed with the service of Steve and the staff.

VETEX in Beer Mania

VETEX in Beer Mania, for our friend Steve

On 1 February 2017 a special birthday party for Steve: none less than VETEX in Beer Mania.
A real great evening, as usual it proves Thierry knows how to run his vibrant café.

Who is VETEX?

VETEX is a group from Kortrijk, Belgium. The name comes from a former textile factory (VETEX) in the city of Kortrijk. The brass band has trumpets, flute, saxophone, clarinet and more, just watch the pictures and the video. They were on a tour in Beijing. Impressive and enthusiastic performance.
See here their introduction in Flemish:

Orchestre International du Vetex is een feestfanfare uit het Belgische Kortrijk.
In 2004 werd het gezelschap opgericht in Vetex, een oude texielfabriek in de kanaalzone van Kortrijk. Vlaamse, Waalse en Noord-Franse muzikanten van diverse sociale achtergrond maken muziek die een mix is van Balkan, Gipsy, ska, Latino en Klezmer, de polka of de Tarantella gedanst kan worden.
De groep bestaat uit vijftien blazers die op fluit, trombone, saxofoon, trompet, bugel, klarinet en sousafoon spelen. Zij worden ondersteund door drums, percussie en accordeon.

See: https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orchestre_International_du_Vetex
and: http://www.vetex.org/

The video

See here a short video, on YouTube (in China needs a VPN). I have the video on file, the original is near 600 MB, the reduced version 90 MB.