Dan Dot Blog

Based on a true story

Beijing 2

Right now I’m sitting in a basement at Beida in a nicely wood paneled coffee shop that is reminiscent of starbucks, though at far far more competitive prices. I’m helping a friend revise a paper, but she’s on the phone so I thought I could take a couple seconds to update the blog that I’ve been neglecting so far.

I was thinking this post would be a cohesive retelling of my trip to the Great Wall, and I may get to that yet, but so far things are coming out in the order that I think of them rather than in any more meaningful chronological sequence.

After settling in to my hotel at Peking University, I started hanging out with Twila, my advisor, and her daughter. We spent Saturday walking around the Beida (PKU) campus and a lot of time around Weiminghu, which means "Not Yet Named Lake." It’s a very pretty, although now a bit dirty, lake that takes up a big footprint on the north side of the Beida campus.

Most things in Beijing seem to be organized fairly rectangularly, whether it’s the city itself, the series of "ring" road expressways that encircle and circumnavigate it, or the individual structures, and Beida is no exception. You’d think this would make navigation easy, but walking around Beida feels a bit like being at Cedar Point, only without the rides and very limited signage in English. On my first day of work I had to walk from West Gate to East Gate, a trip that should have taken about 10 minutes. It instead took me almost an hour. I had set out without any particular plan, thinking only that I could walk in a mostly Eastward way, but had to quickly abandon that plan when the road veered and I lost my orientation. When I reached one corner of the interior wall without knowing which corner I was in, I was ready to give up until I realized that I had stupidly ignored the sun, brightly settling into the western sky. Reoriented but too proud to do an about face and march back around the dried pond where I was and past the people sitting on parkbenches who would doubtlessly have made note of me, I marched onward and westward, making a thorough tour-de-dried pond before making it back onto a road that had some sort of east-ish feeling to it.

I’m having a really fantastic time here. It’s reassuring to know that when I’m healthy, I actually enjoy traveling. Although I had a good time in China last year, I never really felt like myself the entire time, and it’s reassuring now that I feel at least somewhat normal.

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April 9, 2010 Posted by | Personal | , , , , | Leave a comment