A Travellerspoint blog

Lost

Probably not the last time

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Well, of course right after I say I won't write until something interesting happens, something kind of interesting happens. This morning I had coffee with Dad's friend Jim, who gave me a whole bunch of ideas for things to do and see both in Beijing and in other parts of the country (weekend trips and longer if I'm feeling adventurous). Since any trips I do will probably be solo (Tyler's time is limited by his job and Christina sticks around to help her mom out), I'll have to see how I feel about extended travel outside of the city. Hopefully I'll be able to drag one of them along. That's the plan anyways. The major trips that he suggested were the hanging monastaries at Datong (weekend), ChengDu and the Tibetan plateau (probably a week, but likely not limited to travelers the way Tibet is because this part is in Sichuan), and of course the southern things like Shanghai (weekend to a week, depending on how I go and what I choose). If anyone reading this is familiar with any of the above and can make recommendations (or wants to add, but I'm indecisive as it is), feel free. It should be allowing people to comment, I think I fixed the settings.

In any case, he gave me the names of two bookstores that were just a few metro stops away. One was at the stop where I knew Christina and her mom were, so I decided to check it out. Jim gave me fairly detailed directions, which were clear enough that I figured that I could find what I was looking for. What I forgot about was that metro stops on the Beijing subway system have multiple exits, some of which are reasonably far away from each other, and I got out of the wrong exit for the directions he had given me (oops). So I picked a direction and started walking, but since I wasn't sure about my bearings, I asked someone. She told me that it was in the opposite direction (good thing I asked), and I thought she said it would be on my left. Jim had said there were big, shiny buildings, so I figured it had to be hard to miss. So off I went. Several blocks later, I was starting to think I had missed something else, and asked another woman. She told me I needed to take a bus, but after explaining that I wanted to walk, she gave me directions. She said I needed to go back the direction I had come from and turn right. I missed the street that she told me to turn on (Chinese people don't slow down when talking to foreigners, so keeping up is difficult), but it looked like she was pointing me down the last street I had crossed. That was the wrong street. It was also, however, lined with embassies, so if anyone needs to find the Italian, Zimbabwean, French, or something in Arabic that I couldn't read embassies in Beijing, I can get you there. At this point I'm making a circle to go back to the metro stop that I had started at to see if I coud figure out which one I should have started from, and had called Christina and explained the confusion to her. She and her mom were almost done at the appointment they were at and had asked someone how to get there, so I met them at another subway exit (which was the one I should have started from) and we went off from there. Sure enough, Jim's directions were perfect and we found the bookstore with little trouble. I didn't buy anything today, but will go back again soon. After that we stopped by a large market-type-thing (I'm not quite clear on what it was) and browsed. There were a lot of silk products and then other random things. I got a pretty skirt. It's a little see-through, but I really liked it, so I'll look around for something to put under it to fix that problem.

Anyways, I'll be back as soon as I have another story! The sky cleared for a couple of hours, so I was hoping to do Tiananmen or some parks or something this afternoon, but it's overcast again, so we'll see. I'd like to do it when it's nice out.

Posted by MAx1992 23:00 Archived in China Comments (0)

Baby steps

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Today we saw some more of Beijing. We went to a shopping center that was a little bit like Luchao in Changzhou, but bigger. It was immense. There was so much stuff! And literally an entire floor was bags. Purses, handbags, suitcases, wallets, you name it. It was ridiculous. I had some successful conversations. Short, but successful. The jet lag is wearing off and I'm finally able to semi-function in my third language. I understand a fair amount of what's going on around me. Admittedy, I thought I was kind of a hot-shot in class because I had no problems understanding anything. That's because I forgot that real people speak a lot faster than my professor or the people in the recordings. Plus they don't enunciate well. I'm slowly adjusting to that. The bigger problem is that my vocabulary is the size of a teaspoon. I can pick out what I understand when people are talking, but it's mostly function words and a few content words. Other than that it's complete jibberish. I'm also working on that, but it'll take a long while.

I also got bubble tea and street food :) That was exciting. I got the tianbing (I think that's right pinyin...), which is super good. The lady making them looked at me, then turned to Christina and said, "Your friend is really white. Where is she from?" So I told her I was American. Funny part of this story? I got a tan in California.

Anyways, that's about it. So far we haven't done anything particularly interesting, so I'll probably wait until I have a good story to post again. But I'll try not to wait too long so that no one worries.

Posted by MAx1992 02:55 Archived in China Comments (0)

I'm here!

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My flights were pretty uneventful. If anyone is making travel plans, Cathay Pacific and Dragon Air are both comfortable airlines :) I just got in yesterday, which was weird because yesterday was Sunday and I was still on Saturday. Silly date line. Christina and her cousin met me at the airport and we went back to their grandmother's apartment, which is where we're staying. After lunch, Christina took me out to search for a SIM card for my phone (which I saved from my last trip, clever me), and when we walked by the subway station she took me in to show me the map, at which point I was tackled from behind by Tyler. The little sneaks had been coordinating to surprise me. We wandered around the area where we're staying (which is in Hai Dan District) and then went over to Tyler's apartment in another part of the city. We watched the Portugal-someone EuroCup game there. I missed most of it because I fell asleep on the couch. A fifteen hour time change causes some serious jet lag. All I know is Portugal won. Today we watched the Italy-England match, which was seriously intense. I won't ruin it for anyone who hasn't seen it but wants to. We're also talking about going to the soccer (or football, depending on your preference) game that's going to be held at the Bird's Nest at the start of the London Olympics on July 27th. Hopefully we can find tickets.

Anyways, since our SIM card venture failed yesterday, Christina and I are going to go back out for one today. I think I'm more awake, so hopefully I'll actually make it all the way through the day this time. We'll see.

Hope everyone back home is doing well!

Posted by MAx1992 19:48 Archived in China Comments (0)

Pre-departure

Hey everyone! This is where my blog will be. I'll try to blog a couple of times a week, but you know me and that sort of thing. Still, I'll do my best to check in and fill you all in on what's going on!

Posted by MAx1992 07:03 Archived in USA Comments (0)

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