Beijing, a very international city indeedPosted: August 22, 2011
It’s only day 3 but it already feels like day 23, quite possibly because my days have been jam-packed.
The other night, I tagged along with my close family friend, Dingding (formerly known as Tutu, English name Olivia), to watch her boyfriend perform in a rock music competition.
A few unexpected things occurred that night. The first was my dinner. At Amigo. A Mexican restaurant. In China.
The other more strikingly bizarre events that followed were the performances at the show which I have documented for your viewing pleasure. To provide a bit of context, the show we attended was the final round of an ongoing rock band competition. I have never in my life seen so many faux-hawks in one place (faux-hawks because there’s excess hair on the sides so they don’t quite count as mohawks). I have also never before seen skinheads (that’s how they identify) in China, but there they were –suspenders and all–rockin’ out on stage throwing the f-word left and right (I couldn’t upload my video because I’m not technologically savvy):
You think I was shocked then? Well wait till you see who performed next…
I liked them (they, and the emo band, won) because they called all the girls “rock ladies” and obviously I am a rock lady at heart.
Anyway, the competition moved onto a funk bro-band and ended with the emo group (in which Dingding’s boyfriend played). Pretty diverse selection of music, I’d say. By the end of it all, I was so exhausted the taxi driver probably thought I was drugged.
Now for a different cultural experience, today I visited Tiantan gongyuan, or the Temple of Heaven, where emperors used to pray for good harvests. The park is huge and lined with trees and wandering tourists and locals who exercise, socialize and play music. It is comparable to Prospect and Central Parks, only there’s an entrance fee, 3 gorgeous Chinese temples, and a history that dates back to the early 1400’s. Anyway, under the blaring sun my friends and I followed our tour guide around the park and here’s what we saw:
The park was beautiful, but compared to other historical places in China it was just “so-so” (as the Chinese like to say).
My day doesn’t begin or end without a hot meal that leaves me regretting my last bite every time. Tonight it was Szechuan hot pot (“huo guo”), which I ate heartily even though I wasn’t hungry to begin with since I had a humongous lunch. Here’s a snapshot of what “huo guo” is for those who don’t already know:
The hot pot’s the steaming spicy pot(s) of soup in the back into which you throw raw foods like fish, meats and vegetables (my favorite is dried beancurd skin…YUMMMM). Knowing that I would feel physically awful if I didn’t digest before coming home, my mom and I took an hour long stroll around the neighborhood. Nothing too exciting in this area (except the McDonald’s of course). And a public bathhouse which we’ll visit soon if it’s still hygienically sound. More details on that later…
I must sign off now because I have a job interview tomorrow morning 2 hours away!! It’s for an English-teaching position at an Australian owned international school with a GOLF COURSE and A PRIVATE LAKE? Luxury? I think so. I hope they don’t mind my nose ring… Either way, I don’t really want this job since it requires me to dorm at the school during the week, and I don’t know how I feel about teaching at a school with a golf course, but I’m going to the interview because I need the practice. Wish me luck anyway!
Wan an! Good night!