So…. I have been horribly lax in updating my blog. I apologize. Therefore, I may write a rather long blog post today. I apologize also for the length. Here are some things that we’ve done and seen during the two week break between training and the first session.
1. Temple of Heaven and surrounding park. Had a nice ramble with the crew around the temple and the park. Got there a bit late in the day (surprise, surprise) and so didn’t get to go in the buildings. But it was still pretty cool. Apparently the emperor only used this building once a year. But yeah. It was pretty cool. I should really get around to editing these photos for color and contrast and whatnot.
2. Alliance Française. I had heard that the French Cultural Alliance in town shows French movies de temps en temps. Therefore, I set off for Chaoyang district with a vague idea of where the building was, and two hours ahead of time. Well. After wandering around in circles for about forty-five minutes, being completely lost, cursing my poor sense of direction, and feeling generally downtrodden, I stumbled across the building seeming by chance, and only three minutes late. Very glad they have large, red signs in French on the wall.
Anyways, they not only have movies, but also have a library of French books, films, magazines, etc, a café that serves croissants, and the possibility of meeting random French people! woo! Will definitely be attending some free Monday night movies
3. Forbidden City. Pretty cool place. Huge, red, imposing. We got here about two hours before it closed (there seems to be a trend) and so did a whirlwind tour of the area. Might come back in the Fall or Winter to spend a little more time here when the vibe is a little different (less tourists, clearer skies, better weather, 20 RMB cheaper). Did some sketching… Mom and Dad would be proud.
4. Tian’anmen Square. A large expanse of paved ground. We watched the daily ritual of lowering the flag at sunset with about a thousand of our closest friends. I don’t feel the need to do that ever again. Unfortunately, no one was flying kites there. I heard that was a thing?
5. bought a ukulele. Um yeah. So I bought a ukulele. I really like playing it! It’s kind of like playing guitar, only much much easier. Especially for someone with tiny little hands. I think it will make a good traveling companion. I’m thinking of naming it something ridiculous like “Arvo Pärt” or something. I can already play “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” so really, anything else I learn how to play is just gravy.
6. bought some cheese. Cheese is delicious. Cheese is also difficult to find in China. I have obtained some and I am therefore more happy than before.
7. payday! woo!
8.got a park pass. Got a months pass to Yuan Ming Yuan, which, at five yuan more than a day pass, is a stellar deal. I shall go there often! Often I say!
9. discovered some awesome new foods. Spicy green beans, alley bread, alley bread with egg and lettuce…mmm.
10 Beijing zoo. Pandas! Also, all of the big cats are kept in a sort of kitty prison. Each with their own cell with a little bench for a bed. How depressing.
11. Olympic stuff. Saw the bird’s nest, water cube, large expanses of paving where once many people walked, but now are mostly devoid of crowds. Rode of the Olympic subway line which consists of three stops. Also generally devoid of the crowds it was built for. Tried to take lots of picture but generally failed as my camera is stupid at night.
12. Starting September Session Soon! yay! First staff meeting is Friday, more meetings Saturday, students come Sunday and we jump into it! I couldn’t be more excited!