• About Julie

    NJ native without the accent or the big hair. Currently residing in Beijing. Teaching English. Absorbing all things China. Exploring SE Asia.

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Things I’ll miss about Beijing

In case you forgot, or never knew in the first place, 同一个世界 同一个梦想 (tong yige shijie, tong yige mengxiang) or “One World, One Dream” was the motto of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.  I won’t miss seeing and hearing that all the time, but this post is about things I will miss.  “Things I’ll miss least about Beijing” will have to be another post for another day.  I will have lived in Beijing for three years in July when I planning on leaving, and here are some of the things I’m going to miss.

  • Cheap food. An expensive Chinese meal is 25-30RMB, which is $3.60-$4.40.  A really cheap meal is street food, like a bunch of chuanr, grilled meat on a stick, for 1-2RMB each ($0.15-$0.30), or a quarter of a pineapple on a stick, also 1-2RMB.  Or practice your chopstick wielding skills on a bowl of niu rou mian, beef noodle soup, for 10RMB ($1.46).  A meal at the school cafeteria is 9RMB ($1.32) for rice and two sides.  I can cook something with chicken and vegetables to last me for two meals for 6RMB ($0.88).  I don’t want to jinx myself, but I’ve lived in China for 31 months now and I’ve never had food poisoning.
  • Transportation. Beijing has buses (4 mao to 2RMB, $0.06-$0.30) that go everywhere and the new subway lines (with more on the way to make it the most expansive subway system in the world sometime within the next five years) can take you to most corners of the city for only 2RMB ($0.30).  It’s flat so you can bike or walk most places around your residence.  The most expensive taxi ride I ever take is to the airport for about 100RMB ($14.64).  Getting around without a car is super easy and convenient.
  • Travel. Like its food, travel in China is also cheap and easy.  The country itself has a massive railroad designed to move millions, Continue reading
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Beijing is cold.

It’s cold in a I’m-sleeping-in-my-long-underwear, I-don’t-want-to-wash-my-face-or-bathe, I-haven’t-done-the-dishes-in-three-days, I-understand-why-Medieval-people-only-showered-once-a-year, I’m-only-warm-when-I’m-asleep-under-my-six-blankets kind of way.  It’s cold outside: it got up to about 18 degrees today and it felt like Indian summer after earlier this week.  It’s cold inside: we don’t have running hot water and the radiators heat the bedrooms to about 60 degrees, but the living room, bathroom, and kitchen are probably 5-7 degrees cooler.  It’s the global warming.  It causes those record snowfalls and record lows in desert cities all the time.

This week saw record low temperatures in Beijing. Global warming, where are you?

I was doing some reading over at the People’s Daily today.  Here’s a self description:

Launched in January 1998, People’s Daily Online is a website built by People’s Daily, the official newspaper of the Communist Party of China.

That alone should lead you to guess that perusing the website would be informational and educational if you find yourself with some free time.  This article is especially interesting.  Anyway, while I love many things about living in China (and the good definitely outnumbers the bad), one of the bad things that ranks high on the list is inefficiency.  However, the People’s Daily Online impressed me when I read this at the bottom of their web page:

efficiency at the People's Daily

Pleasantly surprised at the efficiency with which the People's Daily is battling the Chinglish war.

If the blue type is too small to read, here’s what it says.

Attention: If you find mistakes in our website, please select the incorrect dates and press “CTRL + ENTER.”

I see poor English and Chinglish all the time, especially on English-language sites where the main site is in Chinese, and it brings two thoughts to mind.  1) If they go through the trouble of having an English site, why not make sure it’s good English?  2) I could make a lot of money proofreading stuff like this.  But props to the People’s Daily for striving to publish good English.

Also in the news, it seems that Yao Ming and his wife Ye Li, who played basketball on China’s women’s team, are reportedly expecting their first child.  Congrats to them, but I hope they have a boy if the baby is a Chinese citizen!  Ye is not a short woman at 6’3″ and Yao is the NBA’s tallest player at 7’6″.  I learned today that Yao Ming (b. 1980) was practically a creation of Chinese government officials who wanted some tall basketball-playing athletes in a bad way.  They played matchmaker to get his [tall] parents together.  Here’s one estimate of the height of their child-to-be from the People’s Daily Online:

(This post is brought to you by hot water bottles and wool socks.)

A day of snow

We have a snow day!  No one can remember if this has ever happened before, but this is definitely more snow than Beijing has seen in over than a decade.  There is not a snow plow in sight, but people are out shoveling and sweeping the sidewalks (yes, I did say sweeping – who needs a plow when there’s an endless supply of workers with bound bunches of sticks??).  Happy snow day!

Here’s what happened last night after our Sunday night meeting, when everyone found out classes were canceled at both Fu Zhong and Shi Yi (Ren Da is already finished for the semester):

What's everyone staring at so intently?

Mario Wii, of course! Children of the '90's...

Here is some snow graffiti from my international students:

Complements of the Kazakhs

Complements of the Koreans

Imperial Palace (aka Forbidden City)

Many much photos on this post!

The more little guys are along the roof edge, the more important the building is. The first one in the front is counted, but the last one (the big one) is not. The most any building in all of China can have is 11, which gives this building in the Forbidden City the most significance.

The more little guys are along the roof edge, the more important the building is. The first one in the front is counted, but the last one (the big one) is not. The most any building in all of China can have is 11, which gives this building in the Forbidden City the most significance.

11 little guys

11 little guys

Carved wooden ceiling of a dome

Carved wooden ceiling of a dome

Caitlin thinks he looks like Mushu

Caitlin thinks he looks like Mushu

The Asian garden at the north entrance to the gated city

Asian garden at the north entrance to the gated city

I couldnt resist a shot of some sweet style

I couldn't resist a shot of some sweet style

Looking across the moat to the gated walls of the Forbidden City

Looking across the moat to the gated walls of the Forbidden City

After two years of living in Beijing I finally made it to the famed Forbidden City!

Tian’anmen Square

Hall of the People

Hall of the People

Tiananmen is getting ready for 60th anniversary festivities

Tian'anmen is getting ready for 60th anniversary festivities

Mao Zedongs mausoleum - hes embalmed inside

Mao Zedong's mausoleum - he's embalmed inside

Entrance to the Forbidden City

Entrance to the Forbidden City

Its lucky to rub the gold knobs on the gate

It's lucky to rub the gold knobs on the gate

The gate into the Fodbidden City

The gate into the Forbidden City

Check back tomorrow for pictures of the Forbidden City.

A rainy day at the Temple of Heaven

No nails were used in its construction

Temple of Heaven

Temple of Heaven

A rare expanse of grass in Beijing

A rare expanse of grass in Beijing

Summer Palace

Aunt Kathy with palace in the background

View of Beijing from the top

View of Beijing from the top