Just some more photos to share from the last two days in Beiijing...
Dinner with ZeFang and her parents: an absolute feast. Jovial Chinese banqueting (yes, I just turned that into a verb) at its finest.
My last day of Beijing Ultimate summer league with Team Crazy Bad. Our league theme was Air Pollution, so the team names went Good, Moderate, Hazardous, to the worst (and best!) of them all.. Crazy Bad! 超级疯了哈哈 It's a satirical take on a more or less dire issue.
There's quite a few people missing but I had an awesome time playing with them. I hope we win the league by the end of the season!
My last dinner in China was at a hole in the wall shop a few hutongs north, where this man and his wife make piping hot pots of Yunnan-style crossing the bridge noodles. As it goes, rice workers in Yunnan (one of the southern-most provinces that I had the fortune of visiting for a week) needed to eat, but they were so busy in the fields that they couldn't leave. Their wives would through noodles, eggs, vegetables and whatever scraps they could find into pots, topped off with boiling hot broth. By the time the women crossed the bridges to pass along the soup, the broth had cooked the noodles and was ready to be eaten! I ordered my bowl pretty spicy with slices of lamb, which came to a satisfying 10 RMB.
The laoban and his wife tend to have the television on with Chinese historical kung-fu movies. This was my second time visiting and he showed me photo collections of foreigners that have eaten at his shop.
Nondescript, but worth the stop.
And for my last night in China, I went out with friends for a good round of KTV-- Chinese kareoke! We had this over the top, butterfly-themed room (the bubble theme was already booked) and sang and danced for hours. The Chinese songs had subtitles, except in traditional characters, so I stuck with the English songs. It turns out I really enjoy belting Adele :). Afterwards we lingered in the streets (that's not as bad as it sounds), then joined hordes of others an at outdoor bar, ordering drinks and skewered cbuanr (spiced lamb) until after 4 in the morning.
After barley 3 hours of sleep, I pulled myself together and rounded up all of my belongings. I was greeted by a marvelously clear morning. In this photo, the foreground is a tattoo parlor. Right behind it with the red and yellow banners is a newly-constructed Japanese restaurant. Where that brown shutter and blue door stick out-- through that doorway is where my apartment is (was)!
I know this isn't how Beijing normally is, but it made for a bittersweet departure.
I met up with Peter, and we strolled the hutongs with some good reflection and ate baozi before seeing me off.
This shop appeared to be a pet store of sorts. I find Chow Chow dogs endearing.
One last look.
Sam, the next room mate, came by and I passed on the key and dragged my cumbersome luggage down the hutong in the continuous bright day. It didn't feel right leaving; almost like another jaunt across the mainland rather than towards home. But ZeFang and her dad drove me the airport, and all I could really say was that I was sad to leave.
It's been a week now. I definitely miss it; Shanghai, Beijing, learning, eating, the daily surprises of awesome and awful, the curveballs, and the exceptions that agglomerate to this active impression of China. Because if there's anything I learned, it's the reality of impermanence. Everything changes, though on varying scales of time, so we have to figure out how to navigate our evolving selves as well.
Listening: "Genesis" by Grimes