Miyun Week 4
Miyun Travel Blog› entry 8 of 8 › view all entries
Monday was a struggle given the lack of down-time at the weekend, but I was delighted when one of my students presented me with a moon cake at the end of the evening class to celebrate the mid-autumn festival.
The mid-autumn festival is not a public holiday despite it being quite a big celebration in China. Most people try to spend it with their families...The evening centres around eating a big dinner and a variety of different moon cakes, which can be both sweet and savory, and watching the festival celebrations on CCTV.
The highlight of my mid-autumn festival was being told the students had exams Wednesday to Friday so therefore there were no classes! Although Mr Guo seemed to think we would still have evening classes so I turned up on Wednesday evening to an empty classroom.
Anyhow, the rest of my week was therefore pretty easy so I decided I would use the free time as an opportunity to take a trip to visit Martin and Piotr in Huairou, which is only 20km from Miyun.
I asked Mr Guo to give me directions in Chinese for the taxi driver. He made me laugh because he told me I should negotiate with the driver. I do realise this is normal Chinese behaviour, but wasn’t too sure how I would manage it with my non-existant language skills!
The evening turned out to be a mini adventure.
My negotiation with the cab driver was pretty much non-existant, and as I expected, he had no idea where he was going, despite the directions I thought I had from Mr Guo. Fortunately Martin was able to get one of his students on the phone to direct him into the town, which simplified things.
After having a little look at Martin and Piotr’s school and dorms, we headed out to dinner before going to the infamous Pattaya Club. Martin and Piotr had been telling the Beijingers about this place, but it’s definitely somewhere that needs to be experienced to be believed....
We got whisked straight in (no charge) and given a table close to the dance floor.
I somehow managed to wow one of the Chinese guys with a rendition of Amazing Grace - he kept shouting ‘I love you, I love you, I love you’, which was quite amusing particularly as I think these 3 words were perhaps the only ones he knew in English!!
We finally left at 2am and I now had the problem of finding a cab to get me back to Miyun.
We managed to find one loitering at the town’s McDonalds. Martin took control of the bartering, but stupidly forgot to tell me the agreed price. I eventually made it home around 3am after the cab driver got lost a few times.
I was grateful for an easy Friday but I had to teach on Saturday as Golden Week was approaching, which is a big national holiday. 3 days of the first week of October are paid national holiday, but all companies give their workers the full week off, with staff expected to make up the 2 other days of the working week some other time. Schools operate by the same system as there are no half terms as such. Therefore, I was to work one of those 2 days before the holiday and one at the end of the holiday...
Inga and I headed into Beijing at the end of the school day so didn’t make it to the hostel until 9pm.
I ended up chatting with Paul back at the hostel until around 2am. It was really interesting talking to him, because he’d done a lot of travelling.
After a much-needed lie-in, Inga and I headed to the Silk Market with Paul in tow. After scouring for bargains and coming away with a fake pair of Gucci sunglasses, Inga and I headed to Wanfujing and I pointed Paul in the direction of the Stone Boat cafe at Ritan Park.
I managed to get my all-time fav at the Oriental Plaza - a caramel latte from Starbucks - which perked me up no end, then I thought it would be good to take Inga to the Stone Boat cafe. Like many times before, we managed to get lost. When we got out of the subway, the map I had seemed to bare no resemblance to the road names.
Quite a few hours had passed since we’d parted with Paul at the Silk Market, but we found him sitting at the Stone Boat, so joined him for a drink...
We sat chatting for a couple of hours, which was really pleasant as, unlike in the summer, the park was quite empty so very peaceful. The Stone Boat cafe is definitely the perfect place to come and while away an afternoon with either a good book or a group of friends and a bottle of wine.
As the sun was setting, Paul and I headed back to the hostel and Inga commenced the epic journey back to Miyun.