Sunday, September 19, 2004

Beijing Bonanza

Woot! I’m now here at Beijing, the land of population explosion, bicycles and weirdly, Mp3 players. Almost one out of three has this gadget hanging by their necks, and I’m seriously thinking of getting an IPoD, the mini type of just 10 gigs. Anyways, I’m trying to recap what happened the last week, up to this point. Mind you, I miss some things since there's a lot to cover, so I'll just write what I remember and write the others later. Here we go!

I arrived at Hong Kong airport around 1:55 pm Saturday, weary the whole travel yet somehow a little bit revitalized when plane finally touched down on the runway. Wow, Hong Kong. I was here last five or seven years before, and that time I spent a fun time with my cousins touring the city and basically being kids. Was that almost a decade now? Geez…

Anyways, this time we didn’t have time to even go out at the airport as our connecting flight is at 3:50, barely two hours before we leave again, this time to Beijing. After changing some of our money into Chinese yuans, we headed to our pre-departure area, gate number 47. Currently, we are at gate number 1, so we had to walk methinks at least a mile to our destination. Let me tell you that it was no walk in the park even if there were moving walkways every 25 feet, the travel by foot was fatiguing. Huffing and puffing, we finally arrived to find out that my brother had a temporary mind relapse and told me that there are actually mini-subways beneath the airport, little trams we can ride for free. Damn. Now he remembers, at all times. Arrrgh…

The plane was slightly delayed, so we arrived at Beijing at 7 pm. There was a guide from the agency to fetch us, holding up our names at the arrival section. When we finally met up, he introduced himself as Kevin and he was supposed to pick us up.

This is where things get a little iffy. I first thought he was part of the agency, but by asking him questions, I find that he knows nothing about some details, like the orientation and stuff. Hmmm, pretty disturbing. Add the fact that his driver’s van was like a family van, the type where there are clothes, cartons and other stuff strewn all over the back part. At this point two conclusions come to mind: either the agency runs a loose ship, or Kevin and his driver are hired on a case to case basis. Whatever, I resigned myself. I have been moving for more then 12 hours total by foot and by plane, and at this point my mind doesn’t care anymore. Jetlag has finally caught up with me. Damn.

It was a long ride, an hour and a half I think. During the ride, there are three things I noticed about the Chinese and their preferred mode of transportation. One: everyone is riding bicycles. And these people have the freakin’ balls to ride in the dark, cross the highway and even hold up traffic. Wow. Two: While they do have guts to travel by two wheels, they have lanes for bikes as well, kinda like a partition for safety. Nice. Lastly: Everything is on bikes, from groceries to panel doors and, just yesterday, an old PC. Hmmm….

When we arrived at the University dorm, things got a little more iffy. Our room has only one workable socket ( the aircon ), and the other ones don’t seem to provide electricity, thus rendering out TV and refrigerator useless. We tried to correct things but things got into a sudden turn for the worst when we found out that nobody here speaks English! Damn!! (After repeated hand gestures and outlandish signals to our landlady, we finally got out electricity working…three days after. What a way to start our adventure) The next couple or four days were spent roaming around the area, trying to familiarize ourselves with the place, getting lost a couple times, once even bombarded by the rain but generally having fun all the while.

They have this grocery a couple of block from the university, and again nobody speaks a word of english. At least they have some American foodstuffs. Our food for the past week consist of 3 minute noodles and just now, some cereals and milk. I just bought a small frying pan and some chinese ham and longanisas, and I plan to cook this evening. Hopefully, it won't burn TOO much.

This last Saturday I had fun time roaming the Forbidden City. It's really vast, spanning more than 40 hectares, with more than 900 areas to explore. We toured the walls, the courtyard, the concubine area (comprimising methinks 1/4 of the palace), the throne room, the royal washrooms and finally the rock garden.

This Sunday was kinda like a special day for us, when we get to meet our LEP's (language exchange partner). Mine's a bit shy, and knows a little English. Her name is Xiaomei Jia, and she's studying Enviromental studies at some University I didn't get the name at. Let me tell you one thing though, things are a bit pretty tough when we start communicating though. Other LEP's know enough english to carry a conversation; mine has trouble starting one. Ah well, I do believe that things happen for a reason (to a certain extent mind you, gut feeling and all) and I believe I'll probably get a lot more from her than the other LEP's, language barrier non-withstanding.

Well, that's it, my first two weeks in Beijing. If you noticed, I changed my title as well, deeming it correct to call this my Season Three. I'll do a reqiuem next time, perhaps two or three days from now. Not really sure though, school starts in Tuesday, so we'll see.
That's it. This is the Hamster, live from Beijing and been living here for over a week now, signing out. Stay tuned for more updates.

State of Mind: Flurry of Thoughts
Now Listening to: Nude Tempo No.1 by Miguel Migs
Now reading: On Writing by Stephen "OMIGOD" King
Looking for: Warhammer Stuff! I'm gonna order online before I go crazy!!


Post a Comment

<< Home