Beijing Travel Blog› entry 2 of 2 › view all entries
1.) I don't speak Chinese, they don't speak English.
This fact is really difficult to deal with when trying to get around the city. The drive from the airport was excruciating almost. Dead silence. Today, I was lucky enough to have found a cabby who speaks English quite well, but I've heard other people who've lived here much longer and never had that luck. For me, this is fine because I was smart enough to print out all the Chinese for the places I wanna go. But next summer is the Olympics, and I dunno how people who don't speak Chinese will be able to manage their way around the city. On foot, it was even more difficult. I tried walking to WuDaoKou from my friend AJ's apartment, and overshot it by a mile north east before finding another foreigner who helped me find it.
Once I reached WuDaoKou, it was wonderful. Plenty of foreigners, and I suddenly didn't feel like everyone was staring at me anymore. I was in a food mart, and heard some japanese, and I followed the talking... and met some Japanese girls. We ended up going to have tea together, and I got to practice my awful Japanese some, woo hoo! haha
Today, I met an old Chinese man in YuanMingYuan, the old Summer Palace, and he spoke perfect English, and even some Russian. He was an Information Technology professor in TsingHua University. He sang some old Russian songs for me that he remembers from way back when. I dunno how, he has an amazing memory, wow. Then at the Beijing Zoo, I met a couple... the guy was Chinese but spoke a lot of English and Korean, and a bit of Russian.
2.) Universities in China make American Universities look like you're staring at a brick wall.
TsingHua Uni and BeiJing Uni are so unbelievably beautiful, that UPenn and Cornell look like a pile of dust in comparison. That's all that needs to be said.
3.) The sun is a killer.
All the girls, and a few guys too, carry around umbrellas to block the sun out. I forgot my sunscreen at home, so the sun has slowly been eating away at my face these past 2 days. I've been tempted to take out my umbrella too, but then AJ reminded me that I'm not asian.
4.) Every young person in the city is paired off.
Either that, or the single kids are all sitting at home crying about it. I swear, EVERYONE is paired off. Boys and girls walking down the street holding hands, riding a bicycle together, standing under an umbrella together, holding hands while riding a bicycle together as they hold an umbrella over themselves to block out the rays. It's disgustingly cute. I really wanna take a pic one time, but I dunno how that would fly.
Final verdict.... all the Beijingers, despite the commucation barrier are really nice people. I like it here a lot.