Sunday, September 16, 2012

16 September 2012 -- Journal Log

Scooter's Journal Log
Earth Date Sunday, 16 September 2012

Sleeping In Sunday?
Ok, this is going to sound like a complaint. But, here's the thing. In a few months, maybe longer, I will live next door practically to a new hotel and shopping mall. I have no idea how really big this thing is going to be. They have put up two cranes to finish building the part that will be above a massive 60-ft. deep hole. There is supposed to be a grocery store and all kinds of shops. As a person who loves malls, I would be the last person to complain. All, I am going to say is that cranes are expensive and cost by the hour, so they are running the cranes day and night with giant lights to illuminate the work site. One of the cranes is so close to my building, I swear it will smack into us if the operators misjudges, but the perspective I have being so close is obviously askew. Also, all I will say, is that a construction site can hardly be expected to be quiet. So, if you need to sleep in, or even peacefully, that might be a big expectation without ear plugs that might prevent you from hearing your cell phone count down timer. Meanwhile, the illumination outside for nighttime construction might also confuse your sleep cycle into thinking it is morning and you are late to school, when really it is just 2 am! But, again, I am not complaining. Eventually, we will have a shiny new mall on the edge of our block. We are all hoping it has a coffee place. Me not so much, but for the others in my group, yes!

Skype TV
Well, I don't know if Microsoft, which bought Skype a couple of years ago nor the Television networks in USA would like to know this, but until they catch on, I plan to continue watching a tv show each week with my family in central Illinois. First, it is fun, and second, it is free, and third, my brother fast forwards through the commercials for me. So, I got up this morning to watch "Big Brother" and see who got voted out of the house as our favorite summer show winds down. I also then got to talk with my mom for a while as the rest of the family left for breakfast at Steak 'n Shake.

• graded quizzes • did laundry • cleaned house • day-dreamed about pay-day and going to IKEA for lights and a mattress • organized things • got ready to meet up with 大 Jarrod

Going to the Movies in Beijing
So, for my first time ever going to the movies in Beijing, I went to see "The Dark Night Rises" with 大 Jarrod. It was his first time seeing the film and my third. The first time for me was the weekend after the Colorado incident, and I happened to be in Colorado at the time. The second time was in Central Illinois with my brother. Well, I can tell you that the experience in Beijing was very, very different than either of those two times for a lot of very interesting reasons.

So, 大 Jarrod and I took the bus up to Wanda (not pronounced like the name of the woman in the fish movie, but rather like Wa-ahn Dah) Plaza. This plaza is named after and may be owned by the Wanda corporation which, you may or may not know, recently successfully purchased the AMC Movie Theater chain of North America making it the world's largest movie theatre chain. It also means a majority of movie goers in America who are not at Regal / United Artists theaters or a tiny local chain are probably in a Chinese movie theater. It will be interesting to see what impact this eventually has on both sides of the Pacific. When we arrived at the plaza, we took the escalators to the third floor of the mall and then entered the gigantic cinema.

The smell of freshly popped kettle corn permeated the entire space – that's correct, kettle corn. Much like in the UK, the popcorn in movie theaters here is all kettle corn. We waited in a tightly controlled queue system for our chance to pick the film, time, language, subtitles, seats, and food. It's one stop shopping, and yes assigned seats! After receiving our very official looking tickets, and food voucher, we realized we had time to go to KFC for dinner but not enough time for a more authentic Chinese restaurant. So, KFC it was. KFC is all the rage in my diet right now, so I was thrilled.

Then we returned to the theatre to get our food and drinks from the concession stand. Oh, a note about pricing. In China, things are reversed at the theatre when compared to the USA experience: tickets are outrageously highly priced (80 CN 元 or $12.73) and food is dirt cheap (two drink and popcorn combo for 39 CN 元 or $6.21).

We went into the enormous theater just as the film was about to begin. I don't know if we missed coming attractions or not. Our pre-selected seats were filled with people, so we sat next to them. They promptly jumped up and moved across the aisle looking rather embarrassed. So, we moved over into our pre-assigned seats. The sound system and projection system were top of the line, and the movie literally roared off the screen. I was super excited because I hadn't been to the movies in a very long time. After the movie, which is a long one, 大 Jarrod and I talked about it, and I recommended he see it a couple more times to really get every hidden gem planted by Christopher Nolan who has to be one of my favorite directors ever since M. Night Shymalan has been unable to make another really, really great movie.

Bus to Nowhere Fast
We walked over to the bus stop area to catch a bus, and 大 Jarrod selected one off his list on his iPhone notes. We got on and after a block of heading east, the bus unexpectedly turned south. After what seemed like eight or nine blocks, I began to lose faith, not in 大 Jarrod, but in this bus driver. I felt like we were going further and further away from our destination and without a gigantic loop back, it would never take us to our destination. After a while, we got off and walked back to another bust stop and took a bus back to Wanda Plaza. There we waited for my regular 308 bus and just as it was arriving, we decided instead to hop in a cab and rode the few blocks home. Fortunately, cabs in Beijing are cheap, cheap, cheap. Sorry, if I sound a bit like Eloise. We don't really know how to tell the cab to go to my apartment complex, but 大 Jarrod does know how to say, "go straight", "stop", "turn here", etc. So, I was back home in about 5 minutes. When I got home, for some reason I was really, really hungry for Jiao Zi. I checked some emails, wrote some of my journal, and hit the hay or futon in this case.

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