Saturday, June 29, 2013

Day 12 – Comforts from home

Today was a fun day.  Folks were craving an American style breakfast, and I knew just the place to suggest they go.  The 2012 group found a place called “Grandmas Kitchen” and they suggested that we try it since they serve American fare.  The 2013 was more than happy to oblige.  About 12:00pm we all met in one of the dorm rooms to discuss the plan to get there.  Actually, I wasn’t planning on going, but since the experience yesterday with the Olympic Park was so frustrating for everyone, I decided I’d better go to make sure they have a good experience finding the place.  Good thing we have a map-wizard on our trip with us because he found Grandmas Kitchen with nary an issue.  Now all the students are familiar with how to get there so they can go back at will. 

After we finished our lunch we headed to both Starbucks for another slice of home, and to a Dairy Queen so that a few could partake.  With very full bellies and high spirits we headed back to campus.

At around 6:15pm the group headed to meet Jeremiah (if you’re just joining this blog, Jeremiah is a student from the 2011 trip who loved Beijing so much that he returned as a teacher) at a German restaurant where he had called ahead for a reservation.  The group was giddy with excitement as they poured over the menu containing incredibly large plates of food and fantastic beer.  I have a feeling we’ll be going back there sometime this week as folks were already making plans to return.  We finished our Olympic sized portions and our half liters of beer and headed out.  I came back to campus to attend to some unfinished business, as did a few students, but the rest continued on to explore the local night life.  I’m not exactly sure where they went or what transpired, but I know they went to a local club and a few other places with Jeremiah.  He knows all the best places to go to meet both locals and expats, which the students heartily appreciate. 

Here is a post from Michael Lolling regarding this experience so far in Beijing:

Since I arrived in China I have seen so many things about the country that have made me reevaluate life.  Some the things that I have observed are the subways, the people and culture, business, and the infrastructure of the country.  The idea of the country that I had before coming to Beijing was a busy city, in a high paced world.  As for the rest of the country, I still have no idea about how the farms and small towns are compared to the hectic city of Beijing.

The city of Beijing is a thriving metropolis that is growing at an exponential rate.  The city is getting taller by the day with new skyscrapers touching the heavens and housing developments that are over 20 stories tall.  In downtown San Jose there are some buildings that are like this but not to the same extent as in Beijing.   I can only say that San Francisco is nowhere near Beijing with the number of skyscrapers, at least from what I have seen.  San Francisco is water locked and other cities surround it and stop the city from growing; Beijing on the other hand has room to grow.  The city is about the size of the entire south bay area or maybe even more and it has a population of about 21 million. There are many times the people in Beijing than in the entire Bay Area. 

Because of the population, you would think that it has a really sophisticated infrastructure like most modern cities.  Well, here it is kind of mixed bag of tricks; in Beijing they have the most intricate railway and subway system that I have ever observed.  The subway system is fantastic with trains running every 3 minutes.  There are tons of places for a person to get on and off the train and there are tons of different lines that can be taken and this can all be ridden on for 2 Yuan or 33 cents.  The Bullet train: California needs to get one because it is really fantastic and better than using an airplane.  The drawbacks for the infrastructure here is that you cannot drink the water from the tap.  You can’t flush the toilet paper down the toilet or it will get clogged since the pipes cannot handle the bulk of the paper.  Finally when it rains the streets get flooded, so pretty much anything that involves water needs to be improved on here.   

Since being here I like a lot of things about this city and country.  It has even crossed my mind about possibly getting a job here or maybe start country jumping for a couple of years.  All of the new sights and sounds have really piqued my interest about other cultures, but I have to say I miss the creature comforts from back home.

No comments:

Post a Comment