Monday, June 2, 2008


We have been in Beijing for about a week now, but it really feels like I have been here for much longer than that. It's been a whirlwind of events since the day after the plane landed. Just this past weekend we were touring temples and the Great wall, and pretty soon we'll all be working in our respective labs.

The average day for me has been a busy one; usually, during the week, we have a language lesson in the morning and a culture lesson in the afternoon. In between we typically have lunch, and after we're busy exploring or getting something else necessary for survival done.

For all the fun so far, there have been a couple of walls in our path. Our apartment lacked internet access for several days and we don't really have any sort of meal cards for on campus eating or even eating in the cafeteria in our apartment. Compounded with a lack of a kitchen, this means scrounging around the locale for restaurants. I tend to load up on foodstuffs from the supermarket to combat this problem, but the food selection there is a story in and of itself (for another time).

The city also has its ups and downs. Beijing is definitely a polluted city. At some times it's unreal; on a bad day I can barely see down the road, and the city perpetually seems to be covered in unsightly smog. I need to wear my sunglasses to shield my eyes from the particles in the air. Unfortunately, unless I purchase some sort of mask as some natives seem to do, there's no way to shield my mouth and nose. Aside from that, it has what most major big cities have: lots of activity. Relatively cheap goods too, if haggling is your game. Food is also cheap, but restaurants are of very questionable sanitation...