Monday, October 1, 2012

1 October 2012 -- Journal Log

Scooter's Journal Log
Earth Date Monday, 1 October 2012

awoke to a bang this morning – more of an explosion

中國 / Zhōngguó National Day
October 1st is 中國 / Zhōngguó National Day – the equivalent to the 4th of July in the USA. One difference is that, here in China, anyone can buy any kind of fireworks, anyone can set them off, and anyone can set them off anywhere. So, I awoke to the booming sounds of someone setting them off nearby. I think another difference is that we tend to wait until dusk, at the earliest, to start setting them off, and this is not so in Beijing. Of course, I am told that this is nothing like what I can expect when 中國 / Zhōngguó New Year comes around which will be 100 times more exciting.

got dressed up really fancy with my new shirt, Swedish cuff links from my Grandfather, sports coat, etc. and met Lena by the South Gate • started to walk to school, when Phil on bicycle approached us from behind • he was riding along talking to us, when all of the sudden a little guy laughed and ran to the middle of the street where he set off a long stream of 75 to 150 firecrackers • these giant firecrackers, about the size of a shotgun shell, began exploding and popping • he then ignited three or four cardboard cannons that launched fireworks high into the sky • with a flash of light and a boom, I thought Lena and I were going to dive and hide under a nearby car we were so scared • with our only options being to go forward or backwards to escape the melee, we chose to go forward to get further up the street • he continued to set off more and more firecrackers causing a hellacious booming sound and tons of smoke that we could later seen and hear all the way at school • we all arrived safely at school to find the campus all decorated in flowers, banners, and tables with student-greeters in green sports coats for the start of the BNDS 60th Anniversary

BNDS 60th Anniversary Alumni Week
Each day this week, a decade of alums will return to campus to celebrate their alma mater and to rejoice in the school's longevity. Today's opening ceremony is one to which the International teachers were invited to attend if we were still in town. The ceremony included the playing of the national anthem and the raising of the national flag by actual guards who complete the task daily at Tian'anmen Square.

watched / videoed the ceremony • chilled a bit with pals and took pix • rejoiced in the celebration • when it was over, I went to Wedomei Bakery for breakfast treats with Lena, Katie, and Derrick • we collectively spent a good portion of our autumn gift cards from BNDS • talked and talked and then headed to the meeting spot for today's panned activity • met up with the group which included Hector and Carmenza, Lena, Katie, and myself around 11 am • took the subway to Joy City in Xidan

guided people to the mall with the world's longest escalator and 12 stories of shopping • shopped and shopped • had many FourSquare check-ins! • ate lunch at a Cantonese restaurant called Bellagio which was delicious • gave a basic tour of other special floors of Joy City to those interested while others shopped

each floor has a theme • for example here are the signs from floors 2, 3, and 4, meanwhile the top three floors are called the Date Floors

The Date Floors of Joy City
Well, guess where is the perfect place to take a date in Beijing? Apparently, the designers of Joy City have thought of everything. This is an idea that hasn't come to America. Basically, the top three floors of the gigantic Joy City mall are called the Date Floors. They are filled with things to do on a date such as eat at restaurants – everything from KFC to Mr. Pizza to very fancy Chinese food. There are tons of places to get dessert and sweet treats from DQ ice cream to upscale chocolates and Daylight Donuts. The very top floor is the giant movieplex. So, it's all very charming, until, then it just gets a bit wacky. You see, there is also, at least one, and there may be more that I just haven't found yet, creative relaxation and interaction zone.

You have to visit it to really believe it. The pictures cannot even do it justice. It's like something out of a Star Trek future planet set. The idea is that after you eat, you and your date can come here, soak up the atmosphere, and, well, of course, if things have been going smoothly on your date, sit, hold hands, and smooch. And, there is always a lot of smooching going on in here. You cannot stay too long as a passerby or you will start to feel a bit creepy. Anyway, yes, these are the Date Floors of Joy City.

got a new protective case for my iPhone at the Apple Store • rejoined the full group • took the subway to another shopping mall two stops from home while others went directly home • Carmenza guided us to the special import grocery store • I bought a bunch of imported stuff including the cutest cereal from Switzerland called Swiss Choco Teddy which has little chocolate puff bears mixed with white chocolate-dipped chocolate bears sprinkled in – maybe my new favorite cereal? • I also got Weetabix® Minis Choco for Sarah's twins, real Cocoa Pebbles imported from USA, a Chinese box of Kellogg's Rice Krispies®, Tilo's Qrax and Tilo's Qrox from Italy, and Biskiti Strawberry from Europe

I also purchased imported Act II® microwave popcorn from America which I am hoping is not kettle corn, some peach-flavored microwave popcorn, sliced American cheese singles, butter, organic brown sugar, and imported Quaker Oats! so I can make my own microwave oatmeal!!!! • we then took a cab home because we had a lot to carry • once home, I worked on journal and ate first 'real' cheese since leaving America – don't laugh, you'd call Laughing Cow Individually Wrapped American Cheese slices cheese too if you hadn't eaten any sort of real cheese in over a month, don't lie!

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