Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Daily Life in Beijing

OK. But yes, I was really excited to step into China and meet Lynn at the airport! It was sooooo awesome to see her smiling face when I landed. I hadn't seen her since she left in Feb. So, we immediately started chatting nonstop all the way back to her apt and into the night!

Lynn and I.

Some Beijing background: It's a huge spread out city. The best comparison is probably to LA - expanding over a large area with different pockets, lots of traffic and a ton more ppl. (15+ million) It's arranged in the "ring" system. The inner ring is the city center then the rings expand outwards to 1st ring, 2nd, 3rd and so on. Lynn lived in the 4th ring on the NW side of the city. The 5th ring is the boonies, but we just found out that there is a 6th ring. Beijing and its surround suburbs encompass ~7,000 sq. miles.

What I loved about this trip was that it was a good mix of living the ordinary life of Lynn in China and getting to know the ins of this crazy country at the same time mixed with the tourist-y stuff. I ended up spending a total of 11 days in Beijing, though the average traveler speeds through in about 4 days.

Lynn's apt. complex
My home in China. So, most people live where they work and work where they live. Lynn's place was in the Petroleum complex. It was about 1/2 car ride (w/o traffic) to the city center.

The living room. All apts. have a little balcony alcove for drying clothes since dryers aren't an option.The bathroom. No showers stalls/tubs. Everything gets wet. Getting a tub is a luxury like getting a dishwasher in NYC.

Construction workers (there are lots of them everywhere) grabbing food at the local stand. Most eat at the local canteen on the premises.

The local market where we grabbed many varieties of fresh pears, eggs, noodles, soy milk in a bag, etc.A small, but traffic-y road near Lynn's apt. Most roads have a side part for bikes and turning cars. But overall there is NO order. Traffic is insane and intense. Cars have the right away. Then bikes. Then pedestrians. And of course, pollution is out of control. View from the light rail station at Wudaoko. There's a good gathering of foreigners in this university ladened area near Lynn's apt, especially a large korean contingency. Everyone bikes around or takes the busses. The best thing I saw on a bike was a couch! After that even the full sized mattress looked dull in comparison.

Olympic Frenzy
Yes, they are crazy for the Olympics. There are countdown markers everywhere.
The Olympic nest - we saw it in passing while on the 4th ring road. It's north of the city center.
The Olympic mascots were everywhere. Lynn and I like the red one. Fire-y!

FYI: China is preparing for the Olympics (ie. getting its act together)
problem: pollution. too many cars.
solution: less cars on the road. Cars with license plates ending in even numbers didn't get to drive for 4 days.
problem: general rudeness and no order.
solution: cue day! Every Wed you have to cue (for the bus, at the store, etc). Go figure.

No comments: