Day 2: Hoshayu and International School of Beijing
I am clearly not vigilant in my writing endeavors. However, I will accomplish this writing of China project.
My day began by checking out a completely non-touristy village. (You will find my account littered with determining the tourist level of a place. In fact, we’ll give things 1-5 stars with 1 being no tourists at all and 5 stars meaning white people were common.) This village was 1 star. I found myself oogled like a walking fish, a sensation that became all too familiar as the days went past. I fell in love with the little markets, bicycles, babies with split bottom pants who just peed in public, and the SMELLS! (Probably unfortunate that I just listed smells after the baby comment) I loved all the smells and sights of the fruit, vegetables, meat, and the multitude of foreign things I had never known existed. I still don’t know their names, but I know that I was not aware there were so many fruits that I have never encountered. The stores were all in buildings however, which I feel important to distinguish because my favorite markets in China were the ones in little stalls out in the open.
After Hoshayu, we biked on over (how Chinese of me!) to Mari’s International School of Beijing, all the while I am giggling about the countless near death experiences I encounter as I maneuver through the maniacal traffic. I loved biking over there. I sadly only biked on this day simply because Beijing is so sprawled out that in order to get anywhere, it just made more sense for Mr. Wong (their classy driver) to take us or for us to brave the standing adventures of the subway. In any event, we biked and I was happy. She showed me around her school some and then we went home, much exhausted from the jet lag which is why I will be ushering you on into…
Day 3: The Fabric Market and The Temple of Heaven
The pictures I have on top are all from this day. I fell in love with markets on this day as well. Instead of squinting at giant signs in the fluorescent glow of Walmart to try and find my goods in a limited variety extravaganza, in China one can simply go to the section of town for the product you are looking for. In this case, fabric. Mini streets with fabric stores on both sides, offering a multitude of far too affordable options, sending any fashion lover like myself into a sheer tizzy. Mari had suggested having clothes tailored for me since I would have to work for a week in order to have a shirt tailored for me in the States. Mari’s mom had a genius idea to make some clothes for my mission that I can wear in the real world as well in case of a bear mauling that leaves me unable to serve. I will spare you the details, but I hope to showcase these clothes to whomever is interested. They are gorgeous.
Also, I found myself even on Day 3 desperately wanting to know the language. I wanted to talk to these people! I wanted to talk to that girl in the 1st picture about why so many Chinese women love that caramel color hair! I wanted to haggle with the shopkeepers for the fabric I wanted! I found my mouth opening up, hoping for Mandarin to come pouring out, but all that touched my lips was my clumsy Wyoming drawl.
After, we found ourselves at the Temple of Heaven, which was a gorgeous place full of intricate, ancient detail that existed in a time where my ancestors were probably herding sheep with tree branches and mucking around in filth. I could feel the age of that place! My eyes couldn’t peel themselves off the vibrant color everywhere. To be honest, I was so taken by the aesthetic beauty and the quiet magic of the place, that in typical Kendal fashion I failed to actually learn facts that might interest you about the place. I got better as the trip went on so I could have something to relate.
What I do know, is that it was a temple for emperors and in the center of the property, there was a circular area where supposedly you could speak towards one end and the sound would come around behind you. While it was by no means crowded (It was a 3 star place), there were enough people to prevent me from experimenting with it. I also discovered that if you stand and take a picture of yourself, a bunch of Chinese tourists will take a picture of you. Actually, they will take pictures of you no matter where you are, provided you are in a place less than 4 stars.
I was dizzied by the sounds, colors, smells, and staring people and will leave this ever so brief account as satisfactory for Day 3. If you have any questions, no matter how seemingly silly, please ask. I felt that all I ever did in China was ask questions.