Monday, April 10, 2006

living lungs go to Heaven

So everyone spits on the ground, no big deal... Until everyone in this city counts over 13 million people. Can you blame them? Well, let's see... Even I had to blow my nose for the first time today. Beijing is said to be making an attempt to stamp out this habit of everyday life before the Olympics comes to town. Good luck! Is it really a problem? Well if you're on the street you are standing in spit, it's just a question of how fresh.

roof tile decorative creatureMore of a problem for me is the chain smoking phenomenon. I was grateful to spend today in Temple of Heaven park where I could breathe clean air for a few hours without choking at all. It was fantastic, a much needed relief from the everywhere every moment cloud of crap filling me with cancerous filth. Which is probably one contributor to the spitting habit.

what's this sport / activity called?Janette tries the spinning topFor just Y15 you can get into some clean air and even some trees and grass in TianTan Park. Forget about the historic and religious aspects (the main building is under-going renovation anyway) this park is loaded with active citizens of Beijing. Ballroom dance practice amongst the trees (sounds rather hippy); flowers blooming; artists painting; Chinese style violin practice with vocal accompaniment; racquet and tail ball swirly; harmonica, singing and dancing impromptu jam session; stringed top spinning; feathered kind of hacky-sack; it's all on!

I met Kitty and her daughter Janette in the middle of it all. Living in Boston, Janette speaks less Mandarin than me! Kitty translates while they are here in Beijing visiting her parents.

Plugging in to the network of street vendor food stalls gives a fresh new experience every time. I tried a couple on my walk back to the hotel: spicy sausage on a stick and something like a baked pita bread stuffed with... stuffing - simply scrumptious!

Kung Fu showChun Yi, The Legend of Kung Fu showAlice, a tour guide who works at the hotel, took me to the Kung Fu show at the Red Theater. Wow! A spectacular presentation of a simple story, with an excellent atmosphere and great acting. Probably the most exciting theater production I'll ever see. It wasn't expensive which made it all the more enjoyable watching from the top tier in my front row seat.

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