Gear Change Up

Saturday, October 29, 2005

The Forbidden City

We must go to war with China. We must take over the Forbidden City. We must turn it into the greatest mini-golf course that ever existed.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Trying to figure out how I ever got here...

Seeing how I didn't have too much (read: any) foreign travel experience before I took off a couple weeks ago, I'm finding so far the biggest adjustment I've had to make is understanding and dealing with the simple fact that I have absolutely no idea what's going on. Anywhere. For pretty much the entire day. I can't really talk to people too much beyond paying for things, directions, and if they like their bicycle or not. And pretty much everyone likes their bike. If you were wondering. Also, I definitely can't read anything.

So I deal with that and go about my day. But I am lucky, because for those really tough and pressing questions that continue to bug me, I have my buddy Rose. For the questions she can't answer, the college I am staying at has an english language corner organized by students once a week. I went for the first time last week. I think me and this other girl must have been the first foreign students to ever show up to this thing because immediately we had about 25 Chinese students surrounding us asking us constant questions. I really don't think I've ever seen a group of people happier to see me. But I was able to get some information out of them last night, so for those of you with questions about Beijing street life, here are some answers...

-The women dressed in the hot pink dancing with the fans in front of KFC...this is not some kind of ritual honoring the king of fried chicken. Nor is it an ancient chinese custom to dance in the street every morning around 9:30. They are there to distract the kids while their moms shop. I know. Big sigh. I have like 60 pictures of these women because I thought I walked up on a huge cultural event.

-There is in fact no place to keep a horse in Beijing. The guys with the horses and the carts come from the country into town to sell their fruit. It's about a 2-3 hour trip one way. That's a lot of time with a horse.

-The construction workers that are camped out on the street are roving teams of construction workers from the country. They have a construction job that they have to do, so while completing it they have to live on the street next to the job. Then when they are done the pick up and go to the next site. They're poor and have no place to live, which the students tell me is a big problem in China, but they didn't elaborate.

Questions for next week include: Do Chinese get road rage? Because I do.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Ni hao y'all

So I decided that a blog is necessary. Way too much stuff going on to have only one e-mail every few weeks. I could never remember all my random thoughts after all that time. Originally, I wasn't going to get a blog because...well...I have friends with blogs and...uh...I don't read them. Very often. Sometimes I do. Really! Anyway, in the debate, I thought to myself, "Self, what about the little people? The people either working or in school or taking time out of their busy day to procrastinate as long as possible? After the email, the IMs, the facebook, the snood, where will they turn?" Ah, where indeed. And so, a blog was born. Not so easily though. You try setting up a blog in Chinese, see how far you get. In fact for the record, if things ever look off or funny on this thing, assume it was in Chinese and I just clicked on it. That's kind of how I operate in all aspects of my life here. But sometimes I have my trusty ACC students to help me. Great kids.

Anyway, I'm off to go do some spinning. It's funny walking into the spinning room here because the chinese people set up their spinning bikes the same way they set up their regular bikes. The seats are all the way down and the handlebars are all the way up. Fun times though. I've heard the Macarena more in the past week than I've heard in the past 6 years. They're also very big on the standing run here. The entire class is pretty much standing, so I kind of have to go my own way and get in a few sitting climbs. Regardless, my standing climb is gonna be amazing at the end of this leg of the trip.