blogbury in china, part 5

(Chengde trip pictures coming soon)

Notes:

  • Sorry that it’s been so long.  I don’t have a good excuse beyond the exam on Thursday and the Chengde trip this past weekend.
  • We went to the Temple of Heaven last Saturday morning, then Hongqiao market (basically bargaining practice for tourists) in the afternoon.
  • I had dinner (good, cheap noodles) with Victoria and her friend from Columbia that evening at a mall in Zhongguancun
  • I spent Sunday afternoon with Benjamin; we had lunch at a dim sum restaurant in Wudaokou, explored Yiheyuan, and had terrible kung pao chicken for dinner at the first restaurant we found near a random subway stop.
  • We saw Jingju/Peking Opera Wednesday afternoon (yes, they scheduled it the night before our exam; the other two classes didn’t have an exam but we still make up the majority of the program).  There were Mandarin and English subtitles (Jingju is in an archaic southern dialect) but they stopped after a few minutes; it was still reasonably easy to follow the basic story but I really couldn’t catch more than a few words of what they were singing.  The second half or so was actually mostly combat/acrobatics and had little or no singing; I’m not sure whether that’s standard.
  • On Friday night I went with Victoria to a Tibetan cafe her coworker owns in a hutong near the Lama Temple (unfortunately that was already closed when we got there).  Afterwards we walked around hutongs for a while, then walked three and a half blocks (Beijing has a large-scale street grid that divides the old walled city into six by six large blocks; within these blocks the streets and hutongs are not organized in any consistent way) to her grandparents’ apartment. We talked with her aunt in Chinese for an hour, then took a bus to see her hotel (the Columbia internship program has unbelievably nice housing).
  • Saturday morning we left for Chengde.

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