Monday, October 8, 2012

8 October 2012 -- Journal Log

back to school • up early • lot to photocopy and prep for classes before school • students all very excited to be back as well, however some are still delayed in Hong Kong where they were taking their SAT • had lunch in upper cafeteria with Robbie • after school Mandarin class??? – our teacher was a no-show • went to dinner on Restaurant Row with Katie and Lena • stayed up very, very late working on graded standards for mock AP reading with Honors AP Biology students Tuesday • very tired • need to order water tomorrow

Sunday, October 7, 2012

7 October 2012 -- Journal Log

Scooter's Journal Log
Earth Date Sunday, 7 October 2012

wanted to sleep in, however, I really wanted to get my journal done and a goal is a goal • got the journal up to date text wise and pretty far into it picturewise until Blogger suddenly decided I was a spambot wildly posting non-sense • this made me mad as my last 50 pictures were rejected from the blog • managed to get all of the text done regardless • took a shower and got ready for the IKEA delivery which arrived sharply at 10 am • hooray! it's hard to believe how long I've slept on the couch and tonight I will sleep in a real bed with real sheets and a real comforter and real pillows! • I spent the rest of the morning assembling the lamps and washing the sheets • then I worked more on the journal with certain degrees of frustration • finally, I decided there was nothing else I could do, so I went to Wanda Plaza and saw Taken 2 – boy was that a terrible film • I had dinner at KFC and ordered way too much food for one person, so I brought half of it home • upon arrival home, I graded quizzes and decided I should get somewhat ready for school to restart tomorrow! • I have a lot of personal time tomorrow to get my work done, so I feel confident everything will all come together • I made up the bed and got it ready for sleeping! forgive me if I'm super excited to go to sleep now...

Saturday, October 6, 2012

6 October 2012 -- Journal Log

Scooter's Journal Log
Earth Date Saturday, 6 October 2012

I still have no Internet service • seems to be out in other people's apartments according to the flurry of text messages I received • weird thing is that my cell phone won't connect to the internet either making me wonder what is going on • walked over to school for the Dragon Dance, final day of 60th Anniversary Celebration, and Official commemoration of the BNDS History Museum • saw a lot of students • ran into Todd and got to hear all about his trip to the Hawai'i of southeast Asia • dropped off shirts at dry cleaner • went home and changed for the day trip • no one showed up for the trip to the Temple of Heaven • so, I walked over to the China Post Office to mail post cards before leaving the area • took subway to bus to Temple of Heaven • walked from one end to the other • very different from last time I was there • Beijing completely surrounds the place which I remember being out in the middle of nowhere • it has been set up as much more of a what Americans would call a 'tourist trap' with degrees of tickets that then get you into internal attractions for more money • the actual Temple of Heaven seemed a lot smaller than I remembers and we were not allowed to go inside which I would swear we were allowed to on my previous trips, but who knows • took bus and headed home • had my first interaction on the buss with a local who went on and on about how much he loves Obama and America and how America is so great because everyone get get a free education whereas in 中國 / Zhōngguó, the basic education is so expensive and America is so beautiful and I should be so happy to be from such a beautiful and wonderful country and not from China • it was touching, but I was praying he would stop talking before we were both arrested or something because we have been warned not to get into political conversations with people • the talking caused me to miss several opportunities to get off the bus and take the subway home • my feet were absolutely killing me from many days of walking and standing • when I arrived at Yu Quan Lu, I went directly to McDonald's to restock on McNuggets for home • headed home to work on this journal and getting the flat ready for the IKEA delivery tomorrow

Friday, October 5, 2012

5 October 2012 -- Journal Log

Scooter's Journal Log
Earth Date Friday, 5 October 2012

met up with Peter, Lena, and Irshad at 10 am • took the subway to the Summer Palace • once topside we realized we were all hungry and went to KFC for lunch

then we walked to the entrance of the Palace and were disappointed there were no guides to hire to take us around • bought tickets • went in • were immediately greeted by an official guide • we agreed to hire him • his name was Jiang but he had chosen the name Joey as his English name because he liked the Matt LeBlanc character from "Friends" so much and fancied himself a ladies man • we really enjoyed him and the information he gave us was invaluable • I had been there twice before, of course, but I couldn't remember half of what I had learned before and you learn something new every time anyway

this time I learned that the Forbidden City and the Summer Palace are connected by a waterway which you can travel there one way only by boat • Joey did not recommend it claiming the water was polluted and smelled foul • the whole experience at the Summer Palace ended up costing a lot of money, but it was totally worth it • we climbed what seemed like a million steps to the high temple where we could see most of Beijing • it was an impressive sight and experience • at one point, some teenage girls stopped Lena and asked if they could have their picture with her like she was a movie star • it was pretty sweet • they asked to be in a picture with me too, not sure why • Joey took us to a few of the Palace shops to purchase cloisonné, paintings, and trinkets – in 中國 / Zhōngguó, the guides will earn 5% of sales in commission when they bring guests to the shops

Peter bought a wonderful painting of the Chinese character for happiness for his flat, and I really wanted but resisted a Xiong Mao cloisonné bowl and carp for my coffee table • then we walked through the world's longest covered walkway — built so the Emperor could walk from the palace to the lake without being exposed to the rain or too much sun — until we reached the marble boat • after that we said our goodbyes to Joey who gave us his card and promised us a better tour next time if we wanted to go to the Great Wall • Peter was supposed to leave us and go back for a Dragon Dance rehearsal, but by the time we got back on the subway and heading to San Li Tun, he decided it would be too late and he would miss the rehearsal anyway • so he stayed with us and we arrived at San Li Tun – a favorite ex-pat area around 4:30 pm • we met up with Phil at The Bookwork — a cool western bookstore café

they all shopped around for books while I sat and checked into FourSquare and just rested

I really wanted to stay there for waffles, but we ended up deciding to walk over to where the Apple Store is and go to an English pub-like restaurant called The Union • we had a very nice dinner and then dessert at Cold Stone Creamery • Phil informed us on the subway ride home that the Moviebox Theatre at San LI Tun has the best selection of western films in all of Beijing, and I was kind of disappointed since I would have liked to have checked it out

I arrived home to find no internet service, but worked on written parts of journal getting closer to having it all written so I can publish!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

4 October 2012 -- Journal Log

Scooter's Journal Log
Earth Date Thursday, 4 October 2012

got up early and met with Peter and London Leena at 9 am – Irshad and Lena wanted a day off • took cab to IKEA so as not to have to face many Subway connections • we had breakfast at the IKEA Café and then I had lunch • during lunch, I witnessed a knock-down, dragged-out brawl between women who were angry an older couple had taken their table in the café • we shopped and shopped and shopped

I got a new mattress and a bunch of lamps on sale for my flat so I can finally sleep in the bed and not get headaches from the overhead lighting • Peter and Leena left early by separate cab as each of us had way too much stuff to fit with all of us in the cab • I went to order my stuff for delivery where here, unlike in America, they will box up all of your purchases and deliver them for you all in one step • then I walked to the subway which was a lot further than I thought because I didn't want to have to pay for the cab fare home by myself – split three ways is was only 25 CN 元 ($3.98) but home I would have had to pay the full 75 to 100 CN 元 myself • took the subway home • had dinner and worked on my journal which I am really trying to get all caught up this week!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

3 October 2012 -- Journal Log

Scooter's Journal Log
Earth Date Wednesday, 3 October 2012

met up with a huge group of people for the day's activities at 10 am • the group included: Carmenza, Izzy, Sarah and her twins: Xavi and Zoe, Lena, Phil, Irshad, and Peter • we took the subway to the Forbidden City

we waited in line about 30 minutes to get tickets • once inside we explored and explored • I was sorry we didn't get a guided tour because you simply cannot get the degree of info from your own recollections accumulated during two trips over ten years ago as you can from a newly graduated and state-approved official guide • Xavi and Zoe were a hit with the crowd who stopped us constantly wanting to take and / or be in photos with them • after much good behavior of being in their stroller for over an hour, Sarah decided they could be released into a courtyard with so much adult supervision from our group

the twins immediately discovered the giant water storage urns near the walls of each gate and seemed convinced they were giant gold balls intended as play things for kids • after taking tons of photos and exploring what was left of the Forbidden City open to tourists with what seemed like were a billion Chinese people, we walked to Sizzler in Wanfujing under the direction of Phil and had a wonderful meal with full salad bar

then the group dismantled with most people choosing to go home instead of to the Olympic Park • Lena, Irshad, Peter, and I stayed true to the course and after an hour on five lines of the subway, we arrived • once topside, we immediately were captivated by the splendor of the Bird's Nest and the Cube

we took a lot of photos and then Peter had to leave to go to San Li Tun to meet friends for dinner • the rest of us stayed and watched the sun set • had dinner at McDonald's

then I took pictures of the buildings at night which was a completely different sight to behold • we then bargained with the vendors to see who could get the cheapest light glider toy – basically an LED glued to a parachute type structure that you launch high into the sky with a rubber band and then watch as it floats back to earth to repeat again • Irshad won the day receiving 5 for 10 CN 元 after I had paid 20 CN 元 for one! • we then took fewer subway stops back home