… sort of. :)
Recently, I said I would make an effort to post more often, especially posting photos of life in Beijing. Well it’s 8AM Sunday morning (fine.. technically 8:53. But I like sounding productive) and by no small miracle, I was actually up at 7AM, and have already cracked open my books to study. I’m taking a few moments to blog this while my amazing coffee is brewing before I meet up with friends for church. There are worse ways to start a Sunday, methinks.
Being originally from Hong Kong (aka, Jetsonville), there’s no way Beijing’s metro system could ever compare to our super efficient, air conditioned and uber clean subways. But there is one thing we’re lacking, and it’s these odd looking blue ball-shaped things. Hit the jump below to find out what this oddity is. (I will be seriously impressed if you can guess..)
This is none other than a bomb receptacle. No joke. Suspicious packages found in the subway are placed in these blue seal-able bins that are capable of withstanding and containing a blast, at least until authorities figure out what to do with the package, or it… blows up. Heh.
This country really doesn’t kid around with security measures. Bags are x-rayed before getting on to the subways.. and newspapers are confiscated before landing in Beijing (how this constitutes as a security measure, I’m not entirely sure. Nor do I want to speculate for the moment.. in case my site gets blocked (again.))
Beijing is also an incredibly transitory city. Much like Hong Kong or New York. People are constantly coming and going. Last night I said farewell to one of my dearest friends here. Alex is my one-time colleague and one of the earliest friends I made here. The thought of him not being here is almost like losing one of Beijing’s landmarks. But no send off could be proper without some fine Beijing-dining, on none other than 鬼街 (gui jie) or “ghost street”
And of course, with dining anywhere in Beijing, there’s a long wait for a table. But have no fear – restaurants provide seating outside under red lanterns and bowls of sunflower seeds to snack on while your table is being prepared. I secretly believe that if Beijingers were any type of animal, it would be a squirrel. Or some other kind of nut/seed eating animal. Shells are thrown on the floor – whether indoor or outdoor.
There are many signs letting you know you’re at a great restaurant. Michelin guide, “starred” ratings, newspaper or magazine features.. I venture one additional tip for the traveling gourmand. Damp table cloths. Seriously. Damp table cloths. Think about it. If the turnover of a restaurant needs to be so fast that they can’t dry their table cloths in time.. well my friend, you know you’re in for a culinary treat!
Now far be it from me to reinforce any stereotypes, but Chinese… really do eat just about everything. Since moving here, I’ve eaten one or two unusual things, but nothing too wild. Nothing compared to my awesome friend, Simon, who thrills at the idea of eating testicles, grubs, brains.. you name it. Here he is about to chow-down on chili bull-frog
Nom nom. But to be quite honest, it’s actually really really good. Tastes like part fish, part chicken. ficken, if you will.
Some (literally) lip-tingling, tongue-numbing 麻辣 (ma la) crabs. Ma la translates as numbing-hot. They were not kidding around. Phew. And just when your lips are completely numb with pain, a little salt to rub in the wound. Clams packed in sea salt
.. T’was quite a night. :)
But living in China isn’t all about stuffing new and possibly strange food down your throat. This is after all, a bustling cosmopolitan city that absorbs elements of other cultures, particularly from the west. Chances are, if you’re studying in Beijing, you’ll be familiar with the student haunts in the area. Imagine my surprise when I walked into one of my favorite hangouts and was greeted by this:
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Halloween has indeed come to the Middle Kingdom. :D
Now if you’ll excuse me, the smell of freshly-brewed Laotian coffee is intoxicating and beckoning to me. ….. must…. heed… :)
Happy Sunday everyone!