Hello to all who are diligently reading this blog. I’m really sorry that I haven’t been updating more often, but I’m just having some difficulty finding time to write really thorough entries about my experiences here.
I am keeping a journal, though, and I have a bunch of topics that I have yet to write about. So, here’s my plan: in order to catch up, I’m going to give some short summaries about what I’ve been up to. I will write more detailed entries about these experiences later, or I will incorporate them into other entries at some point during the semester. If you’re reading this and you’d like to hear more about one of my many excursions/experiences, let me know! I check all of my comments. Oh, and thanks for reading this blog! It’s great to know that people are staying up to date on my life in Beijing!
1. I recently went to one of the famous markets in Beijing, Yashow Market, and
Great buys at Yashow
managed to bargain my way into some really great prices for several “luxury” items. My favorite bargain was a camera case that the saleswoman originally priced at 25 RMB that I got down to 9 RMB. Though this wasn’t my most successful bargain, it was fun because I held my own and kept my price at 9 RMB, even when the woman was offering it to me for 10 RMB. She knew I knew Chinese, so she kept saying, “Ni hen ma fan!” which literally means, “You are very annoying!” I was really elated by her dissatisfaction with me, I guess because bargaining is just so much fun, and I knew she was putting on a show, just like I was.
2. On Friday, I went to the Beijing Zoo (Beijing dong wu yuan) to see the pandas. Along the way, we saw a few really sad rhinoceroses who probably hated the fact that they were dying a very slow death. It looked like they didn’t have enough (or any)
A sad rhinoceros
water, but then we saw that it was possible for them to walk into a big holding room, so we hoped that there was water in there. We also saw a lot of other animals, including an elephant who looked really upset about being outside, and was sticking his trunk into a closed
A happy panda
door, but was getting no answer. The pandas looked like they were well taken care of, and were a good end to a pretty sad visit. I mean, all zoos are terrible, so even a trip to the Bronx zoo may have left me feeling the same way.
3. The employed: There are so many service-employees in China. Every restaurant, store, subway station, etc. is overstaffed. While this can be really great for situations when one puts her subway card into a machine when she’s not supposed to and someone has to fetch it out and is immediately at her service (not me, of course!) it’s great. But when five waiters are staring at your table and giggling, it can get a little weird and uncomfortable.
4. I went to two places of extreme interest to some readers today: McDonalds and
Me with a Swede and a Spaniard in front of Ikea
Ikea. The McDonalds experience was interesting because nothing was really different.On the walls, there were many pictures of white people laughing, and the menu was exactly the same as in New York, but perhaps without the triple burger. Ikea, on the other hand – wait a minute here, it was also the same as in the States!! Perhaps most interesting, though, was the pile of woks available for purchase and a Chinese woman who was eating Swedish meatballs
Eating Swedish meatballs with chopsticks
with chopsticks. The experience was especially cool because I went with two Swedes, who showed me a side to Ikea that I have never known before, like which candies to buy and what the names of the furniture mean.
5. On Saturday, Maria and I got full body massages at a place for 45 RMB/ hour (that’s less than $7.00/hour). It was amazing, but painful. I felt good afterwards, so I think I’ll go back again.
6. I have a language partner! Her name is Victoria (Chinese name: Li Hua). She’s really funny – asked about Oprah and American Idol today. She loves Michael Jackson, as well. Awesome point: She’s from Xi’An, a city that I really want to go to during my October holiday. She said that if I went she’d be a tourist guide for me and my friends, and she’d also help us with finding a cheap and clean hotel to stay in for a few days.
7. To Dad: No, everyone does not smell bad in China. I’m confident in the fact that everyone brings tissue, or if they don’t, they have a way of going that doesn’t allow for much drippage. Also, I don’t know how everyone stays so thin. There’s a shit-ton of oil in all of the food. Perhaps it’s because they don’t eat food in very high quantities.
It’s 1:42 am now and I have class at 8:00 am!!!