Sunday, July 11, 2010
Beijing Tourist Checklist: (Almost) Complete
So far every morning, we have breakfast at the roadside baozi place (steamed buns with filling) It's so cheap and fast which is good cause i need more time to cram before class starts. A baozi is 1RMB which is crazy cheap, like $0.15 and you only need 2 to fill you up. Basically I can get all my meals in china for less than a couple of american dollars each day. its hard tho to order cause alot of the menu is in chinese. the good thing is that sometimes, they have pictures so you can just point and say "nei ge" lol. they're so many on campus cafeterias. you can only use your meal card for that and only students have them so you have random ppl who will ask you to use ur card to pay for their meal and they reimburse you with cash on the spot.
after class, we have a calligraphy elective and i really like that class. its not something im good at but it feels good when you finally wrote something that looks good and not just a blob of ink on your paper. its kinda like yoga, the peaceful feeling when you meditate. oh and i also like my taichi class, which starts crazy early at 6:30a each day. everyone's poses are so messed up. people walking by stop and watch us (and are probably laughing silently in their heads), a huge group of foreigners attempt taichi lol. we have a teacher of course but he speaks only in chinese so most ppl dont understand him. he says as long as you show up and dont be late, you will learn it. so far, its good, only gone thru the first 4 poses. we also have painting class, which was really hard. well, at least im not the only one who screws up alot. its so embarrasing, i just want to throw it away. things are out of porportion and the colors are all messed up, the lines are too thick or too thin. then you look up and you see the sample demo one the teacher is painting in front and yours looks nothing like it. but its fun and ur not the only who whose fish looks like giant red balls with flames.
my kouyu (speaking) class is crazy hard, im always struggling. but its fun cause we do impromtu skits and play games. at the end of each class, someone presents a chengyu(idiomatic expression) and/or a joke so we always end on a good note. ppl from liuban, which is the highest level class say that our class is harder than theirs. which makes me want to switch but i think a challenging class is better for me cause in the end, you'll learn more. but still, lots of hw, mostly from hanyu (writing) class. 15 vocab words quiz daily. XD
for dinner, on thursday we went right outside campus. crossing the street itself is a life threatening experience. cars are soo rude! so are the bicyclists! they dont slow down for you, they just honk very loudly at you and if you don't move, i swear they'll probably run you over, dont even care. if you want to cross the road, its better to go with the pack of ppl and stay on the other side of incoming traffic just in case so if they do hit the crowd, you'll have a human cushion first. at least, that's what i do. its really scary!! and also your ears hurt from all the bikes braking. do ppl not care for their bikes? the brakes sound like nails on chalkboard and you hear so frequently, how can ppl get used to that sound?! so many nails on chalkboard, which probably means every few seconds, someone was almost run over by a bike. so anyway, there's a strip of restaurants across the street. there was KFC, dairy queen, golden phoenix and yoshinoya (sp?) we went to the latter and it was soo good! also milk tea in china sucks. dont even go for the pearls, if you want boba, go to taiwan, trust me.
we met our language partner on friday. except when the time came to go to the meeting place, it was POURING outside. it was raining so hard, that even tho we only had to walk a couple hundred feet away to the next building, ppl were soaked head to toe by the time they got there. it was seriously raining cats and dogs and most ppl didnt have an umbrella. this wasn't rain. it was continuous buckets of water. and it didnt stop for the entire night. the puddles were ankle deep, and the streets became ponds. my language partner was late because of the rain and she was stuck at the subway station because of it. but she did come eventually and she's pretty nice. she calls herself rachael but her chinese name translates to snow white. lol. we are in groups of 2 language partner pairs so im paired with matt, sean's roommate and his langauge partner and mine found out they have mutual friends and went to the same school , even had the same major sorta. we think they make a cute couple lol. hidden agenda, we gotz it.
many chinese who come to tianan men have never seen a white person before so its a curiosity. we had a running score between the nonchinese in our group of how many times they were asked to have their picture taken lol. the forbidden palace was incredible. it just keeps going on and on. that place is humongous. if there's one adjective to describe china, especially the architecure, it would be: BIG. the bigger, longer, and taller it is, the better. i guess you need that much space since theres so many ppl in china. but it wasn't just big, it was also beautiful. hundreds of years of history was made in this place, its hard to fanthom how much drama and how many ppl have spent their entire lives there. even the number of rooms is incredible: 9,999. can you believe it? if you were to be born in a room in the forbidden palace and every night, slept in a different room, you would be more than 27 years old before you were done.
we went to his grandmothers place at night and the accupunturist was there so i got to see some accupunture right there in her bedroom. it was pretty frightening, to say the least. sean even got some in his leg. he said it felt like a shot of electricty running down when the accupuncturist twisted the needle in. i dont know if i could do it, i hate needles. afterword, i did laundry and it took forever cause i handwashed it. i tried put a clothesline in my room but the hook failed me and snapped off lol so its still slowly drying in my closet. sad.
gushes out, so much flavor, you would be surprised. there was no fat between the skin and the meat either, so thats a sign of a good duck. the way to eat it is to wrap it in a tortilla like wrapper, sorta like the vietnamese spring roll kind and you put in the thick sauce and some veggies like spring onion(?) and cucumber slices. there was also a bunch of other dishes ive never tasted before like duck tongue, feet, liver, ginko nuts, i dont even remember the rest. they were really nice to us, that must have been a really expensive meal...
ok so the rest of the day matt had to buy a new camera so we went to the electronics "city" to get one. omg the salespeople were so aggresive. the minute you walk into the store, they shout at you from either side about their products. if they see you looking at something, theyll talk to you, make you want to buy it. if you point, they'll see it immediatly and come over like lightening to your side. the minute you walk into their shop space, they're all over you. man, its pretty scary if you're not prepared. yeah so i really need to sleep, i have taichi tomro at 6am and i still need to cram my vocab words (like always...) nite!