febrer 3, 2008 0

A week in Beijing! Just before San Francisco!

By in Viatges

So… one week in Beijing! That feels like ages ago now, although it was only like 3 weeks ago!

So just after I heard about the offer in San Francisco, I thought on no, a real job! No more free time, daily schedules to follow, no more trips whenever I feel like…. That sucks! So I wanted to go for one last trip before all that started. And bc I also had some pending promises with Jules, I asked if it would be cool for me to visit her in Beijing, where she currently works and lives…. And she said yes! So that’s how it went.

Juliana was an awesome host, she organized a private driver to pick me up at the airport, so it was all very easy (although the driver only spoke chinese). “The old man”, as Jules secretly calls him, was holding a sign with my name on it, so its easy to spot him in crowded beijing airport. He gave me a envelope (that Jules prepared for me, as she was at work) which contained a little hand-drawn map of Jules’s aparment area, some instructions on what to do, and her apartment keys. As soon as we got there the old man walked me into the apartment and left. Such a nice apartment! It’s like the 18th floor, huge windows facing the sun that make it very bright. Amazing heating system that made you feel as if it was summer (oh I do miss that right now), really useful bc street temperature was around -10º when I was there.

So I call Jules, and she’s still at work and will be for a few hours. So I decide to go for a walk around the neighborhood, trying to make my body stay awake a few more hours after such a long trip, to try adapt better to jetlag.

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The crazy nurse…

First impression was, wow I’m the only non-asian around! It certainly feels weird, I didn’t really understand when Jules was telling me how she felt around the south of Italy, but I immediately did after walking around Beijing. Everyone looks at you as if you were from another planet, and kids stare with an amazed face. Cool! So as I was walking around with my camera, I walked by a dentist clinic, and It was all so cute cartoon like, with greens walls, dressed up nurses, etc, that I stood up to take a picture from the outside. And next thing I see is a nurse running towards me; and I think “Oh crap, she saw me taking that picture and it’s probably forbidden or who knows…” But not at all, she invites me to walk in, very kindly asks where am I from, what am I doing around there, etc… And then she calls all the doctors and nurses in to take a picture of me with them! So weird!!! Damn, I should have asked for that picture somehow…

So once sun fades away, (around 5 pm if I remember right) cold becomes unbearable so I ran home. Jules wasnt going to get home till 8ish, and it was becoming really hard not to sleep…. So I started cleaning the house, which was in quite a need of that…

And then Jules came home, she was wearing a huge backpack with a giant octopus inside! Of course, who else could, but her? Jajaja! It was certainly nice to see her again, but a bit akward of course…

She’s doing great in Beijing, she has this amazing job that pays well, and being in China where most things are quite cheap, “I am rich in China!” as she says, jajajaj! But she has to work very hard, in fact I’d say she’s been clearly overworked working, 12+ hours every day and even during some weekends…

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Jules at the office, oh dont be so shy!

So from Monday to Friday I spent my whole day on my own, wandering around the city, which was great. I love getting lost in new places, the most different they are to mine, the better. And Bejing is different

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Bike repairs are in every corner, and Tian Ang Meng.

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Old man playing chinese chess on the (freezing) street, and the Beijing Opera House.

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Some amazing building, workers following very strict security measures, and a huge 4-floor-tall Buddah.

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PingPing matches on the street! Huge empty space by Jules apartment.

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Cable Mess! “Mao is in the air™” and some random street.

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A kind homeless guy. Ronaldinho is in the news even there!

So weekend came and Jules finally was free, so we did plenty of things she organized… We went to some cool neighborhood where all the art galleries are, we checked some private galleries with cool stuff and then the ultra-famous UCCA. Jules invited me to lunch and it was very tasty!

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Italian food in China! and it was actually very good! And art galleries…

We also went to the Beijing Aquarium, after visiting (from far away) the olympic buildings (the bird’s nest, the bubble building, etc. Oh done make me look up the names…) The aquarium had some very funny touches, my favourites were the mermaid lady and the plumbing-adapted morey-eel painting, a very clever way to hide a tube if you aske me.

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Aquarium Time! And that is creative thinking, very nice!

We also ate orange hot-potatoes on the street! Chweet-chweet!

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Moniatos are good!

As I was leaving on tuesday, Jules booked “The Old Man” to drive me to the Great Wall of China, which is about 2 hours away by car. It’s up in the mountains, and it does get very cold there… Following Juliana’s advice, I put on my ski pants and it was great!

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The Great Wall of China is VERY steep!

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“The Old Man” and his car.

After the drive, I decided to invite the old man to lunch for being so kind, so he decided the place. We ate so much, and so quick! My favourite were those giant meatballs, which looks like they call “LionHeads”.

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“Old Man” ‘s favourite place for lunch.

All in all, it was a great trip! Thanks jules! 🙂

All the pictures here. Sorry I didn’t have time to color correct them so they are quite dull looking…

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