Sunday, August 19, 2007

Sichuan Province!

Whenever I go for more than a week without writing it feels like something is missing! The past couple of weeks I've been taking classes here in a small private school, mainly a colloquial conversational Chinese class. Besides school I've been meeting new Chinese friends and practicing the language a lot. It seems as if I've finally broken a barrier where I've made one or two good Chinese friends that have begun to introduce me to more and more of their friends. It took a long time to get here, and a lot of language study, but it feels good to have reached it. I can now say my friends group is half/half foreigners and Chinese.

We have to start back classes at the University of Business and Economics here in Beijing in two weeks. Since I have only seen Shanghai during the entire summer break, I have decided to take off to Sichuan province for an pre-school starting adventure. Here's where it is in the middle of China:

Famous for Giant Pandas, the spiciest food in China, and the most beautiful ladies. I will be staying with a Chinese woman, the friend of a friend, while I'm in the capital, and then travel a little. Look for lots of good blogs to come!

I thought since I've had a lack of blogs, I'd throw in a few pictures of new friends!

Talk to you soon from Sichuan!

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Bird and Flower Market

I went with a Chinese friend yesterday to what is called the Bird and Flower Market, but is actually more like an "everything that's living" market. You could buy fish, birds, dogs, turtles, fighter crickets, snakes, kites, antiques, pipes, etc. I really enjoyed it because there was not a foreigner in sight except for me, and it felt so real compared to some of the other places in Beijing. I just wanted to share some of the fun pictures.

They had every type of bird imaginable, some with their own cages and others crammed like pigeons on a phone wire.

I loved this little old woman selling her fake antiques.

This man was selling crickets that you feed to other pets. One cricket per little wooden cage.

And these people sold more expensive, fighter crickets, that people bet on and fight in little underground arenas.

I highly recommend a trip to Southeast Beijing to see this little market. Any pet or accessory you need, it will be there.

Beijing Bowling.

That's right. We went bowling in China. It was the largest bowling alley I've ever been in, called Gongti 100, and we felt like we were not actually in China for the moment. We got to wear the funny looking shoes, give dorky cheers when someone got a strike, and then go dancing next door when we were done! A great night...but everyone has decided that we need to organize paint ball in the Beijing suburbs for the next adventure. Oh, and I even bowled FIVE strikes during the second game. Three in a row. I never had that kind of luck in the States!

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Visitors to Beijing!

Right after I got back from Shanghai it was visitor time! Alex (IMBA) visited before going back to his internship, David (another IMBA) came with two friends, and then the following weekend Shaun (another IMBA) showed up for a few days. What a blast. We did a lot of stuff, and had a full house most of the time. At one point our apartment slept 6 people! Here's just a few shots of the fun and games...

Taking our guests out to our favorite restaurant in Beijing, owned by the Japanese woman in the middle! Excellent food, fabulous owner, perfect service, and always more free lunch coupons! What more could you ask for?

4 IMBAs posing with the Kung Fu actors...

All the boys around the table for a very elaborate brunch at our apartment...

Being a tourist with Shaun at the Temple of Heaven...

Karaoke Time!
We bravely took our guests for Karaoke with some Chinese friends of ours, to get their feet wet with a little Chinese culture. They had a great time, I hope. At least it looks that way from the pictures!

Me with Zhang Yi...a great language partner and friend!

Some people had to clap for themselves because no one else would....

One last silly shot...what's wrong with those people?

Any and all are welcome to come to Beijing! At least while we still have a plush apartment and an air mattress :-)