Tuesday, June 25, 2013


This past weekend was a great one. My frisbee-playing, workaholic, polyglot of a friend Peter is second on the list of generous hosts.  Saturday was rainy, so we started out a mall full of modern glass structures, vintage bikes on display, my favorite ex-pat grocery store City Mart, and some luxury retailers.  Then we went to this enormous, futuristic dome called Galaxy Soho, where Beijing's second annual craft beer festival was held.  I went to a festival in Shanghai, and it was set up the same way with brewers from around China and their choice brews at 30 RMB ($5) a glass.  There were food vendors and a killer band later on that played throwback music from the 50's and 60's, which made for an enjoyable afternoon.

This punching pink apartment is where Peter calls home (though he's moving in a few weeks)!
The best discovery of the weekend was that Beijing is unbeatable by bike.
Suddenly, this vast city seemed so accessible!  The city has a flat grade, the main roads are aligned very logically, and the bike lanes are enormous-- it made for an amazing afternoon of riding.  I was ecstatic to see the city heart at ground-level, yet not be shoving through crowds of tourists or confined to a seat in a taxi or bus.  And, the air was clear enough to see for miles.
Tianamen Square.
(apologies on the quality, these are from my iPhone)
The memorial of Dr. Sun Yat-Sen (other wise known as Zhongshan), the founder of the Chinese Communist Party.  Every Chinese city at least has a Zhongshan road, park, temple, statue, or memorial-- or all of it!
I pedaled around the entire eastern side of the city, even pushing farther down to The Temple of Heaven Park.  Since it was already 5 PM I didn't purchase a ticket to enter any of the temples, but I certainly will be back because the park was splendid.
One of the several, centuries-old Juniper trees.  This one was especially praised for it's twisted bark structure, climbing into the heavens (so the plaque said).
And lastly, I just have to show you my #Chinaproblem from the other night, which involved making brownies in a microwave because I couldn't figure out the oven.  Turns out microwaves in China are significantly stronger than what we used in the U.S.-- resulting in 2/3s of the batter coming out as burnt chocolate crust.
I was making brownies as a thank you for Anna for lending me her apartment last week, then for us just to eat... but as you can see, I messed up a lot.
Milk didn't even help to much.  HA!  I can't wait to bake again in the U.S...

So, the weekend was great and it rolled into an anxiety-inducing week.  I guess you don't know stress until your wallet with a debit card go missing, the Chinese government changes their visa policy again, you have to make an emergency trip to Hong Kong because leaving the Mainland is the only way to acquire a new visa less you go back to the United States/be deported this weekend, but then can't withdraw money because you don't know the credit card pin number, all the trains which made the most economic sense are sold out, your internship organization has no idea about the visa policies nor can provide funding, and there are flights but then the credit card company is rejecting your payments..
Yup, never really understood stress before that.
 In summary, I'm flying to Shenzhen in four hours and crossing the border into Hong Kong to apply for a new Chinese visa.  I hope to be back in Beijing by Sunday, because I am not done here for the summer.  Sending endless gratitude to my parents for helping me sort through all of this, as well as Peter for giving me great detailed instructions on how to succeed.  Here it goes!

Listening: "Dance, dance, dance" by Lykke Li

1 comment:

Allison said...

I have been to almost every place you posted - never did I think to travel throughout Beijing via bike though! Ugh, you're making me miss China so much - though my sweet tooth does not at all miss it there. Kudos to you for making brownies! :)