Archive for October, 2007

Here in Beijing, I’ve noticed the locals do not believe in personal space, they probably don’t even know what it is! You have probably witnessed this lack of respect in the subways. Getting on or off and even while in the subway cart everyone is directly next to you, touching you as if they were hitting on you. Another example is when crossing the streets here. The culture is just go and dodge the cars and buses. Most people when crossing the streets here are literally millimeters away from cars because the vehicles don’t stop, especially the buses I’ve noticed. People are often caught between lanes while cars and buzzing by millimeters away from death. Quite scary sometimes. Even in NYC cars are ruthless and often zroom by but there’s a small ounce of respect and safety that people have. NYC locals don’t risk peoples lives like they do here. In my opinion, here in Beijing there is no such thing as personal space or respect for others. It’s kind of a society and culture that is very impatient, and only cares for oneself and your family, no one else matters. This isn’t a bad thing, it’s just a different type of culture to get use to.

Last week my friend and I went to O’Brien’s, a big Irish sandwich chain, and asked for fapiao when we received our check. Surprisingly instead of a real O’Brien’s invoice fapiao, we saw our waitress ask a woman on the street for fapiao. When she brought it to us we realized it was fake fapiao. The silver scratch part wasn’t able to scratch off. It was just silver coloring. I couldn’t believe a big chain like O’Brien’s had FAKE FAPIAO!! Good thing we didn’t need the invoice for work or taxes, we just felt lucky that day and thought we’d win some money, i guess our luck never even had a chance.

I actually spent Friday afternoon at the airport, lots of delays or cancelled flights because of the fog there. I bought a book “Mao, Man not God” at the airport and spent a nice afternoon and/or evening waiting for my plane.

It was not really chaos, altough it was a little bit more crowded than usual. The staff managed to stay calm and nice and I had some nice experience:

1) Funny experience
Two nice employees had some fun. They tried to explain me something in English but realized after a few minutes, that I asked the question in Chinese.

2) I learned the following new Chinese words
雾气 = wuqi = fog
大雾 = dawu = dense fog
没有登机口 没有时间 = Mei you dengjikou mei you shijian = No gate and no time.3) Experience
Next time, I know, where I can change my flight ticket at the airport.

4) Happy return to my apartment
When I returned to my apartment at 22.00, the electricity worked again (it had stopped working just before I wanted to leave in the morning)

Friday the weather was really bad… there was such a dense fog that you couldn’t see much! Apparently the visibility in the city was less than 200 meters. The airport and major highways leading to the city were closed. When breathing one felt like if there was dust coming in your mouth and nose because of the high levels of pollution…That day me and my colleague had a day off so we decided to go to the Silk and Ya Show market for a few bargains, breathing instead, ‘hot air’ from the vendors and other costumers!

Last week we went to Xian with a great bunch of people. That was like about 15 students from Hutong School. We had a really good time on the night trip drinking some pijio and some baijio. Today I am going on another trip with my two polish friends. Our final destination will be Inner Mongolia this time. I hope to have a good time on a train again. Looking forward for it.

Yesterday me and my colleagues decided for a change to go and eat at a japanese restaurant. It was one of the last restaurants close to the office we hadn’t tried. The restaurant itself didnt look bad at all but once we sat down we started to notice that the service wasnt up to scratch. Its not that me and my colleagues are a bunch of fussy people who want to be served to perfection but when you get chopsticks without a saucer, especially in this country, you know that something is wrong…Another thing we noticed is that there where alot of waitors and waitresses who didnt know what to do. The food wasnt that great either: the sushi was very sweet and the portions very small and tasteless. One funny thing is that we even had to ask for soy sauce for our sushi…Moral of the story? If you go to a Japanese restaurant make sure to get a saucer and soy sauce for your sushi in order to avoid frustration…

Since I’ve been learning Chinese for the past week and a half I’ve noticed how I’ve been using more and more Chinese words in my daily vocabulary. This is good because I’m actually using Chinese words for practice and to help me memorize them, but its bad because sometimes people don’t know what I’m talking about. I’m using Chinglish a mix of English and Chinese. I use it in restaurants, taxi’s, or to my flatmate’s friends. I can see how weird it can sound if you only know Chinese or only know English. These people probably think I’m crazy, but I think most know I’m just practicing my Chinese words. Wo bu zhidao, I mean I don’t know, but I do think its helping me pick up my Chinese faster. So just deal with it. :)

I went to Xian this weekend and really noticed how bad the pollution is here in China. I know Beijing is high but I usually dont smell it or feel it in my lungs however in Xian I did. At one point my felt light headed as if I was breathing in car fumes. Not good. I might need one of those painter masks or a gas mask, geez.

Yesterday me and a bunch of friends decided that it was about time to go and listen to some serious music (Drum n Bass).

For the first time we entered a club called Vics just next to the workers stadium. This club was very impressive; everything was shining and glowing. Like my American friend described it, it had this touch of ‘Manhattan chique’. But lets talk about the music! A dj called nu:tone and an mc called wrec, from London, made sure that everybody was going to have a good time by spinning old classics and funky soulfull beats. The vibe was hot and everyone was getting down to business on the dancefloor! The vj too was doing a good job by projecting Beijing‘s sights and seeings and other types of animations. Good athmosphere, good music, good club…what else can i say?

funny translation

“Ahead of the Olympics, China is trying to improve its citizens’ public manners and curb behavior that might offend foreigners. Beijing officials are also trying to improve the English of some ads. A better translation of the sign above might be, “Find something new and be pleasantly surprised.””