This will make your day start right
So I kept waking up extremely early in China, not sure if it is my body or the food, or just living around so much cool stuff that got me up early. I went to bed before midnight and woke around 5:30, not my normal way to say the least. I was eager to see the area and do some exercise and practice my gongfu. I got dressed and put on the ipod, going out to see the new environs. I was instantly amazed to see a gorgeous arch bridge leading to a park at my front door. I followed it into the nicest park I have ever been to, with the lily pads and pavillions everywhere, it is beyond zen. I ran up a little trail to find a workout site, and there was an old man striking the air with his palms and letting out little yells.
I thought I would be the only one doing this kinda thing, I was wrong. The park was inhabited by old people doing taichi and gongfu exercises. I found a nice little clearing with a statue of confucious (kong zi) and set up there. There were these awesome little paving stones that were perfect for gongfu, it was meant to be i suppose. So after a nice workout, I felt euphoric and went for a little jog around. I found a little pagoda with a spiral staircase, and at the top a man working on an embroidered picture, and it seems he just is lacking a workshop. He was nice enough to let me take a picture of his work, and then I was on my way. The morning lasted forever there, and I enjoyed each moment, except for maybe the squak of the peacocks.
After this I waited for my local guide cai hong (rainbow) to get me for breakfast. I ended up in my room waiting til about 11AM, which made me feel like I was dying of hunger. When she came she apologized too much and then we left to the nearby restaurant, where we had an interesting and tasty corn soup, some chikcen and pork dishes, just basics. As like all my hosts, she refused my money and insisted on paying, and I am getting used to it. We left and walked to a nearby historic site which is where a prince would keep his concubines, and so we walked around a little and imagined the scene just 200 years ago, very different indeed. Then we went to Tsinghua, which presented a little problem. She insisted that I ride on the back of her bike, but I refused to be the laowai on the back of rainbow's bike, no way.
old people are cool
I finally convinced her of my bikesmanship, and got the rickety 20 year old bike going. It was a very pleasant ride in the sun and I almost forgot I was riding a pink grandma bike. We toured around the school and saw the labs, which are basically like any other I have seen. Cai Hong also took me to the grocery store to get some food so I wouldn't starve anymore. The grocery had those funky slanted escalators which are like ramps and not stairs, which I have seen in Mexico too, but never america, seems people would have too many lawsuits the way our society is. Once I was stocked up on sweet breads and sour herb tea, ooh, and little yogurt drinks, I went to the front gate of Tsinghua to meet my friend Chun, who I met thru Xiaohong my friend and coworker.
i want this at my house so bad
She and her mom came to pick me up, and I was upgraded from a rickety village bicycle to a brand new white Audi A4, nice! I found out that her mom had taken the week off from work to be my tour guide. These people are serious about hosting, like a competitive sport, always blows your mind how far they go for near strangers. It is all about who you know, guanxi. Her mom speaks no english and so Chun would translate a lot and I would speak a little chinese which impressed her mom a lot. They took me for some nice food, can't say what style though. Just remember the big bottle of Tsingtao beer and the food was good. We chatted about politics and life and found that we were of the same mind on so many things. After this we drove around Bejing for a minute, looking for a pharmacy so i could get a little medicine, and then went home, I was so beat. Next day was the Great Wall so I needed my sleep!