Old Friends and New Adventures

So now that intensives are over and we aren’t working six days a week, we decided that we needed a break from Qinhuangdao so we went to Beijing.

We planned on taking the express train at 10 am but by the time we got there the train was sold out. We were debating on whether to go at all, when we saw a bus that was going to Beijing too. So instead of it taking us two hours like it would have with the express train, it took four and a half hours.

The bus was packed, every seat was taken. I ended up sitting next to a mother with her little child. I have come to the conclusion that Asian babies are the cutest babies roaming the streets. My personal ranking of babies is Asian and black babies a close one and two, with Caucasian and Hispanic babies coming in at three and four.


We finally made it to Beijing; Sam, Matt, Paul, and Justin wanted to go see the Summer Palace but I had already gone with my parents and I really wanted to see the Olympic park so I split up from the group and went on my way.

Olympic park is a amazing place architecturally wise. When you see the Bird’s Nest you are taken aback at the structure. It truly is a work of art. When I went inside it actually seemed smaller than I imagined. For watching it on TV, but it was still impressive.


In the same area, was the Water Bubble and the basketball stadium, which were impressive structures in and of themselves.


After being in China for more than eight months, one gets tired of eating the same types of food, so that night we wanted to go out to eat somewhere new. We decided to go the opposite direction of Chinese food, we wanted Mexican food. There is only one place in all of Beijing to get Mexican food, and that is at Peter’s Tex-Mex Grill (not Pete’s which would have sounded better but Peter’s). I got a burrito and it tasted amazing.


At dinner I met up with an old friend of mine. In high school I participated in this program called OUDC (a program that brings Jews and Blacks together to learn about each others cultures and learn how to fight discrimination). One of my friends from this program, Sam, moved to Beijing about a month ago and we were able to meet up.

After dinner Sam took us out to a few bars and then to a proper nightclub called Vics. I saw some black girls for first time during my time here in China at the club and it reminded me how much I have jungle fever. (I guess I picked the wrong country to teach in then).

The club was hopping and it was a lot of fun. The music moved me so much that I got up on stage and started dancing in front of everyone. (Don’t worry; I wasn’t the only one on stage). It turned out to be a typical night at a club for me. I’d try to dance with a girl and they’d walk away.

By 2 am we had enough of the club and my friend Sam (from OUDC) had to go to work the next day, so we all decided to leave. I was exhausted so I decided to return to the hostel while my friends went to try and find a strip club. (Sam, my old roommate, had never been to a strip club before so he really wanted to find one and go).

Quick side story: They ended up not being able to find a strip club so they went to a KTV (a karaoke bar) where you pay girls to hang out with you. I guess the next best thing. The only problem was that the girls start ordering food and drink to their tab even though my friends didn’t order any. So by the end of the night their bill came close to 2000RMB.

The next day we were up bright and early. I don’t know why but whenever I drink I always wake up early the next day. We wanted to see Mao’s body so we were out of the hostel early. The Chinese people have preserved their great leader’s body after his death and it is now on view for everyone to see. But when we got there is they were not letting people in. So we walked around Tienanmen Square for a bit taking pictures and taking in the sights.

We then went wandering around the hutongs, which is an older part of Beijing with old buildings and very narrow roads.

These are rickshaws that carry you through the hutongs

While we were wondering the hutongs we ended up playing this game called jianzi (pronounced jentza), which is a combination of a hacky sack and badminton. You kick this little birdie thingy around to one another like it is a hacky sack. We started playing in the middle of the street and before we knew it, Chinese people were taking pictures of us. It was a funny role reversal. I am now so sore from playing this game. I pulled my hamstring. I should have stretched before hand.


Towards the end of the day we went to the silk market because Paul and Justin had never been there and wanted to see what it was all about. I would compare the silk market to a tank full of sharks. They swim around taking little nibbles trying to see who will be food and then the moment you show any interest they smell blood and attack.

Matt was interested in buying a pair of shoes, after trying a pair on and determining that they were uncomfortable he tried to walk away. The store keeper grabbed him and started to harass him. Matt is too nice of a person to tell someone to back off so I tried to step in and help. When I did, the store lady turned on me and started to shout at me saying that I had no business talking to her and that I should mind my own business. She then threatened to kick me out of the market. She was a major bitch. But that’s the silk market and its part of the experience.

We got a late train back to Qinhuangdao and that was it for our weekend adventure.


About JoelS

Spending a year teaching English and saving the world in China
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