Beijing day 11. 10/07/13

I am still working on my weekend entry (they are really really long) I just kind of wanted to talk about today before I forget it.

Work was uneventful except for the constant reminders that my Chinese is still rubbish. Last week was about being proud of my little bit of Chinese abilities while this week has really been about realizing how little I really know, I till can’t read, can’t order food without pointing and I’ve met so many people I just can’t communicate with, I still have a lot to learn.

We ate lunch at a claypot noodle place which was great, except that the guys ordered ma la noodles. For those who don’t know, I only learnt this this year ‘ma’ means the numbness on your lips that you experience when you eat something too damn hot for human consumption and la is spicy, honestly a bit of a redundant word. Bloody hell that was spicy, messed with my stomach the whole day. The shop was a small hole in the wall as so many of the shops here are and I just love the fact that their only attempt to decorate it was five small pictures of pandas on the wall. They didn’t even spread it out or anything, just grouped all five of them over a spot, I swear they were trying to cover a hole in the wall or something.

The night was where the interesting stuff began. As winter left the office, he said he was heading to a launch of an app designed by a friend of a friend (winter apparently knows everyone in Beijing, it is not an overstatement as you’ll find out later) and he asked if anyone wanted to join him. My initial plan was to go home and catch up on writing and sleep, I could really use an early night plus I wanted to write before I forgot all that had happened on the weekend. However, the part of my mind that still behaves like a 19 year old said two words and I was on my way to this event : fuck it. No matter how crude those words are I have come to learn to rely on them while traveling, it takes you to places you would have never gone, to see things you would have never have seen, meet people you would have never met.

So we went to the rand unveiling of an app called jimmii tv, basically it’s like shazam for movies and tv, it’ll recognize the sound of he movie and tell you what it’s about plus sell you some shit related to that movie. Interesting concept but it requires people to whip out there phones while in a cinema or something, turn on the app and use it. That shit would not sell in France. No one touches their phone or even speaks in a movie theatre, hell I’m not Even sure it would sell in Singapore but I guess china is different like that. For the founder’s sake I hope it works, guy spent three years on this thing.

But before we got there I had an interesting chat with winter about what else besides girls. I swear I have never talked about girls as much as I have these two weeks, these guys are more obsessed about them than I am and I am supposed to be the hormonal 19 year old. In his defense he is at an age where he wants to get married and he knows lots of beautiful girls its just that they don’t usually see him that way. So he was telling me about how sometimes he doesn’t feel like a girl goes out with him because they like him but rather they go out with him because he gets invited to lots of these events and the girls are using him to get to these events and socialize with these smart and rich guys. Maybe it is true and maybe it isn’t but if it is, poor guy man, poor guy. Though he isn’t totally faultless, him me the guys I met today seem to judge girls by their looks and hold them up to a ridiculously high standard. In other words damn these guys are picky.

There was a band called brain hurt or something like that playing. Vey college band standard music with gimmicks like the lead singer’s hair is a leopard print and the basis tries to mimic the shirtless guy from red hot chilli peppers. There is always some sort of appeal about power chords, no matter how simple they are, they are popular for a reason. So I felt like I was listening to early versions of green day or all American rejects or something, except I couldn’t understand a word they were saying. It was strange and honestly slightly unpleasant, guess I just wasn’t feeling it.

There we met winter’s friend, an abc (American born Chinese) named Barry who was pretty cool, plus he’s the one who got us into this event. He was a graduate student at cheung kong and well I didn’t catch what he was doing here in Beijing but he knew someone. The other guy we met was David, a Chinese bro with an Australian accent who was hear trying to raise capital for something or another. They were both pretty cool guys, nice enough to the out of place 19 year old hanging out with them and the kicker is that they both spoke better Chinese than me. I mean David grew up in china so that isn’t fair but Barry grew up in America man, damn do I need to improve my Chinese. So we hung out, I tried to help winter pick up a girl (naturally to no avail) but it was a fun experience all in all. Got accosted by guys selling hookers twice that night, went into a hollister, which apparently is a cool brand in china. Apparently you wear that here and girls will be all over you and pulling the hollister badge till your nipples turn red. Don’t ask me why the fuck that expression is so bizarre, I don’t know either, it’s probably a mainland thing. I found that quite interesting honestly because what is a douchy brand every where else in the world has seen a revival here in china as the in thing, their marketing team must be rejoicing right now. Naturally we went in because hot girls work there, but winter was too shy to say anything, he’s reserved like that.

We ate at a Mediterranean food place near by that had a spinach patty that literally looked like shit, I mean it was a black kind of round disc that looked unappetizing as all hell. But damn it was good, Barry called it ‘good shit’ and I’m not gonna disagree one bit. Oh before that I said hi to the son of the CEO of KFC china, big big guy who, surprise surprise, knew winter.

As I took the train and bus home (strangely no one knows when exactly the last train is, not even the people working there, you just have to wait and hope) I was greeted by a guy playing guitar on the train. I had seen another guy doing that before but I had forgotten about it. It was nice, you take your head phones out and just listen to pleasant love accustom music till he moves on and I love the fact that the honest actually do donate to this guy, I donated some myself but I’m glad that these singers have a way to enjoy their passion and pay rent at the same time. If we just listened to what they westerners said about china i dont think you would have expected it from rigid communist china. It’s nice. The bus driver was really nice and understanding too when I asked him where to stop, he slowed down and used simple words to explain to me how to walk from the bus stop to my place, I didn’t have the heart to tell him I already knew. He still had a crudeness about him but he was nice and I really appreciate that. Just as right now I appreciate that someone invented the term ‘fuck it’.


Beijing day 6

im a day late with this entry because I really couldn’t be bothered last night, I was tired as all hell. So here’s why, it’s gonna be a short entry because not that much happened and I couldn’t remember my thoughts.

On the way to work we went over a railway and I saw a train carrying rows and rows of small tanks, which was pretty cool. It reminds you of the fact that china is the second largest military power on earth, they’ve been fucked with time in and time out, invaded, massacred and raped. They aren’t going to have none of that shit anymore that’s for sure.

Work was dreary, I learnt lots about corporate governance, which essentially encompasses mechanisms that the really rich CEOs and board members subject themselves to so that they don’t fuck up and when they inevitably do fuck up they know who to blame. As you can tell by my tone, I’m not a fan of the subject, it’s dry, dull and involves lots of legal specifications and accountability clauses, why I’m even doing law in September I don’t know anymore, shit like this just bores me to tears.

I was supposed to head over to ikea with Sam to buy office furniture, but as wei Qing rightly pointed out, we can order that shit online. Her logic did nothing to help my disappointment though, I mean, ikea meat balls and half a day away from corporate governance? Hell yes I was looking forward to it. Had dinner with Sam after getting very lost and realizing that even an incredibly intelligent and educated man is subject to the idiocy of our gender: by that I mean he wouldn’t ask for directions. I never understood it but fuck it what do I know, maybe its an evolutionary thing or some shit like that.

We were supposed to find a cool Thai place and we ended up walking around for ages and eating in a different Thai place. However not before we walked to park avenue, this amazing. Think of how expensive park avenue is on a monopoly board and imagine a real life version in Beijing. That shit was expensive, I don’t think I could have bought a single thing there. But it was gorgeous, it had gorgeous architecture, like a bridge in the middle of the mall, and office buildings within the mall (so you can imagine the height of a ceiling). It was just awesome. Plus there was art everywhere, not old school Chinese art which is brilliant but I can’t understand but modern Chinese art where everything was disproportioned and quirky. It was just enjoyable, the kind of art that just puts a smile on your face it was brilliant :). I love the Chinese approach to art, it’s strewn around malls ( there were even two disfigured sculptures of dogs in the car park that people were sitting on) or in artist villages and markets. There is little pretentiousness about it, no ‘hallowed ground’ simply art that can be enjoyed by everyone. In essence, they democratized art. Given that I think of art as mainly a source of pleasure, this method fits me perfectly.

After dinner is where the tiring bit comes in, so dinner was really filling so I decided to take a walk on my own around Beijing thinking I’d just grab a cab later hahaha boy was I wrong. I spent two hours walking around without a single available cab, I kept getting accosted by guys in cars who were willing to take me back home for obscene prices. It had been a long day and I love walking around and exploring but nothing was open and I was tired from getting lost previously. After two hours I had to give in and haggled the price to only 50% more than it would have cost to grab a cab. That only was sarcastic btw, the total only came up to 12 sing so I shouldn’t complain but I hate being ripped off.

There was one upside though, as I was walking around I saw lots of people, more importantly lots of international people. There were important Japanese business men, Indian fellows, plenty of Europeans and I think Koreans as well, I couldn’t place their accents. This was particularly interesting because I’ve heard so many comparisons between Beijing and New York, both are lands of opportunity that people flock to for a better life, better education, better job. I mean every other Chinese here wasn’t born in Beijing. It’s an apex, a New York for the Chinese. But New York is different because its the melting pot of not just America but of the world, everyone flocks to New York, I mean it’s probably one of the most cosmopolitan places on earth. And from what I saw last night maybe Beijing will be just like it one of these days, now that, would be something indeed.


Beijing day 5. 4/7/13

The journey continued on day 5 of my Beijing trip, work was a bitch because I wasted quite a bit of time and effort on PowerPoint ( I can understand why some people hate their jobs, if I had to do PowerPoints everyday I’d die too). But I am still learning lots, I can now create a somewhat bearable to look at powerpoint now and I’m actually really thankful for that.

After work was even better, we went to this awesome dumpling restaurant with dumpling with all different colours ( I mean they were literally bright orange and purple and shit) it’s quite amazing. And every one of them is a surprise because its not like the boring dumpling you have everywhere else, there were so many different fillings and flavours, It’s as if the dumpling skin was merely a staple and you could put an infinite amount and variety of ingredients within it just as you would any other staple. Plus all the ingredients are wrapped so you get a nice little surprise every time you bite in. Sam and Matthew have a habit of taking pictures of the food they eat so we had to wait for them to take pictures of every dish before digging in. Sam used one of those seriously heavy duty professional nikons, so it’s quite a spectacle to see. I never understood taking photos of food, except in the case of gorgeously presented food maybe. So they explained it to me like this, the food is just a medium, something nice to look at, what is important is the memories of that particular meal: the company, the coversation, the girl you were eating with. I mean I still wouldn’t take photos of my food, but when you put it that way, I can damn well understand it.

Then Sam, wei Qing and I went to a famous dessert shop called the bellagio. Oh man was the food good, it’s basically ice kachang of varying fineness and they did it so well, there was this mango and coconut snow ice that was brilliant. Our stomachs were already exploding but we finished our massive portions. That’s how good that shit was. However, the food wasn’t as interesting as the conversation, it was one of the strangest ones I had. They started speaking in accents, Sam was especially good switching from Russian to English to Pakistani to Japanese to medival English, I mean that guy can quote Chaucer from heart, yeah that’s how smart my co workers are. Wei Qing held her ground as well, pulling off many pretty cool accents including annoying white Californian girl. I swear people were staring at us (especially when they were trying out their Russian accent, Russian is a loud accent no matter who speaks it) but I didn’t really care, it was cool, very cool and interesting because they had all these accents because they knew lots of people all over the world which they told me about.

Then of all bloody things we went to a club, they wanted to show me the clubbing experience, the bellagio was on a street filled with clubs and there was no entrance fee so what the heck. Payed 40 yuan for a beer, which is cheap by Singapore standards but I could have bought probably 5 beers for that price any where else. It’s strange dancing with your boss and watching people more than 10 years older than you enjoy something you feel too old for. This was at like 10 btw on a Thursdays so no one was on the dance floor, just three foreigners flopping their arms about. As the youngest, the most inexperienced, and the intern I got bullied into trying to pick up a girl, which I dutifully did and failed. No way in hell I was buying anyone a drink and my Chinese is bad when I speak it, I can’t imagine how bad it is when I have to shout it over clubbing music. So it was to be expected, I think my odds of success would probably increase significantly if I go when the girls are a lot drinker, people are actually dancing and I speak English in a faux British accent but I guess we’ll probably never know.

As I end my day waiting in a hotel for my ride, I honestly can’t thank Matthew enough for everything, I was approached by a woman selling hookers, not the hooker herself but still. I figured that kinda why would happen I the club rather than at the front door of a nice hotel but I guess in Beijing, anything can happen.

And I’m not done yet! Matthew ran late so I took a cab back and it was actually really cool. Had a nice chat with the cab driver, I could understand like 70% of what he was saying, which for me is a MASSIVE achievement. His accent wasn’t as strong as most cab drivers and he was really interesting actually. He drove at night because the day was too hot for him ( I’m not sure if that’s carefree, lazy or smart but it’s interesting I guess) and his family had been in Beijing for 6 generations , everywhere else that would be mildly impressive but in Beijing that shit is intense. His family was in the bloody heart of china throughout the fall of the Qing dynasty, world war 2, Japanese occupation, the Chinese civil war, the rise of communism, Mao’s cultural revolution, and the modernization and opening up of china. I’m not sure if any place on earth has gone through so much change and turmoil in such a short span of time, ever. To never move away, to stick it out for 6 generations, that shit is intense man, they either were bloody strong and courageous or too poor to move, it was probably a mixture of both but I’ll be damned if that shit doesn’t make you resilient as all hell. Plus he was really local so he didn’t have a super strong accent like other cabby’s do which really helped me understand him better.

As we drove into matthew’s ‘condo’, I use apostrophes because I have no clue what to call it, I can’t exactly call it Matthews golf course because that’s misrepresentation and also vulgar beyond belief and its not quite a condo either. It is however extremely beautiful, the sky was clear tonight (apparently beijing a weather is erratic beyond belief and I’m just so glad the good weather has held for so long). So you could see the stars and there is literally a moat along the houses which was completely still. Almost like a mirror reflecting the beautiful stars above. Plus it was cooling, like air con cooling, it was just perfect and you can’t help but smile honestly.

All this glory and beauty was behind a stone wall at the main entrance. A stone wall that right now has a car with half it’s bonnet squished beyond recognition, plastered onto it. Apparently a guy was drinking and driving and he smashed right into the wall. I hope he’s okay, there were people yelling at each other beside the totaled car so I assume he’s fine. Again it makes me think of this idea of an enclave. The troubles, messiness and carnage that exists in Beijing stops at the front door, in tonight’s case it literally stopped at the front door. I don’t think it had much of a choice honestly, stone walls are usually to be pretty insistent. And I can see why Matthew lives here, because Beijing is glorious, it’s full of surprises and interesting things, but that also makes it quite insane and messy and without a sanctuary to retire to, it can get overwhelming. I mean every single day I’m out it can feel like too much and these are days where I spend most of my time in a quiet office by the way so I now know how I feel about this enclave: thankful. It’s not the only feeling I have, I mean I’m still not sure if ideologically it’s a good thing, but that crosses my mind less now than my feeling of thankfulness. Thankful for this sanctuary, thankful for my chance to come to Beijing, thankful for practiva and everyone in it and thankful for Beijing.


Beijing day 4. V3/7/13

Great weather continues but it is hot as balls, it hit 39 degrees at one point. I spent the whole day literally working on 5 slides, it was a good learning experience and all and I really improved after each try but bloody hell, 5 slides man. I was trying to tailor my stuff to winter’s pitch and he is a hell lot more demanding than the rest but also supportive because he constantly told me how to do things better, which I appreciate.

The previous intern who was with them had did big big calligraphy posters for them so the entire office spent a good while goofing off and figuring out where to hang them and I think that’s what I love about working at a start up. There is no rigidity and inflexibility and bureaucracy, in its place is simply people with the discipline and drive to get shit done. And because of this, you get to goof off like this once in a while and bond over silly things and silly stories, corporations are supposed to be human organization and yet only at places like practiva is the human aspect really seen. So as you can see I quite like my job.

Matthew had to go for a dinner date which was great because Sam and winter brought me to this street in the city that was brilliant. It was made of old Beijing one storey buildings and filled to the brim with interesting shops and food and all. Sam was an endless pit of knowledge and I learned a lot from just talking to him for the night and during dinner winter described his home town and it sounds brilliant. He was from a town around 500km west of Beijing and apparently it has a huge Buddha statue, multiple monk grottos which were caves they meditated in and coolest of all a massive temple chiseled into the side of a mountain, it’s like the stuff you see in movies honestly, maybe one day I’ll go.

Also Sam mentioned an interesting statistic. In Beijing the ratio between boys and girls for the first child is something like 106:100, which is expected. The ratio for the 2nd child (because you’re allowed to have one more the first one is a girl) is slightly higher understandably 120:100. The ludicrous one is the ratio for the third child: 275:100! Bloody hell, I mean Sam may be wrong or they might have measured it wrong but can you imagine if that figure is right? How many selective abortions occur everyday in Beijing then? I mean I’m pro-abortion but there’s something pretty damn messed up about aborting a baby not because you can’t afford to take care of it properly but because it doesn’t have a penis.

One a side note, the forced migration into apartment building on the outskirts of Beijing somehow came up and it got me thinking about china’s ghost cities: entire cities built from scratch only to be left to rot, now that…would be a sight to behold.


Beijing day 3 2/7/13

It was gorgeous today in Beijing. The rain last night swept away all the smog and washed away all the dirt. For the first time since I’ve been here I could see far into the distant and notice the beauty of Beijing. The sky was clear and a beautiful shade of blue, weather like that just puts you in a good mood regardless of what lies ahead of you during the day. The clear weather made me realize how close my office was to the Main CBD I mean I walked to work from the iconic CCTV building that looks like a pair of pants in photos and looks like a very impressive and sturdy pair of pants in real life. The smog hindered my visibility so much that I couldn’t see the largest buildings in Beijing from a hundred meters away, what the hell.

Work was cool, I got to present my work to the group and they were all really supportive despite the fact that I was pretty damn unprepared. They even joked about asking me to postpone school for a year to work for them and i cant honestly say that i have not flirted with that idea. i could study chinese in the morning, work in the afternoon and re apply to the US colleges, with actual conviction in my interest in business this time and help from people who went through these applications and made it. It probably wont happen, but you cant blame a guy for speculating, i mean i don’t really want to go back to school right now. Met sam’s friends (also from Harvard, surprise surprise).

Food was great today, we ate at the building canteen which offered a buffet for 3 bucks sing. For dinner Matthew brought me to this really cool street full of restaurants called Bai zhi wan and we ate our heart out on Chinese satay and noodles, cost me like 17 sing to pay for the two of us, I mean I owe him for bringing me around and letting me stay with him. Bloody hell Beijing is cheap and the food is gooooooooddddd.

After work Matthew went to the gym, leaving me to walk around the CBD for an hour or so. Lots of buildings in Beijing toe the line between gaudy and impressive and the mall I went to was no exception. It was Huge, yes that capital ‘H’ was intentional. In the center was this massive open air street with a roof that was just one big seamless LCD screen displaying messages that you can SMS them ( I wonder if anyone’s managed to draw a penis on it with symbols or something). Then it would switch to displaying cheesy underwater scenes or scenes of gold and stuff ( see what I mean about gaudy) to cap it off they would blast universal studios kind of impressive ambience music. Like I said gaudy as all hell, but the sheer scale of it made it strangely impressive.

We ended the day watching Li Na ( a Chinese tennis player whom the Chinese seem to idolize) lose her Wimbledon quarter finals. I just love how the Chinese commentators were completely and utterly biased, I swear the novelty will wear off eventually but the Chinese still surprise and amuse me with little things like that.


Beijing day 2 1/7/13

As Matthew drove to work with me in tow I saw some vey interesting things in Beijing. The highlight by far was a man dangling a long snout soft shelled turtle with a long wooden pole. He was simply holding it there for everyone to drive by, which was weird, I mean what the hell could he be doing right? It never occurred to me that the bugger was selling the turtle! I understand the idea of turtle soup, I get the idea of hawking your goods on the road but only in china would those two concepts merge and manifest itself and it is wonderful. That’s the great thing about traveling, I’m constantly surprised by the little things that foreign people do, they do things that you would never think of doing and do it in such inventive ways, well inventive to me, common place to them.

We went to eat Chinese roti prata from a street store and sat in the middle of a park with tons of old people and a few kids. You could really see the consequences of the one child policy right there in that park, the number of old vastly outweighed the kids, and looking at that park made me slightly worried for the Chinese honestly. But that worry subsided And was replaced with joy as I saw these people playing chaptec like bloody pros and huddled around Chinese chess tables, it was a community, a glorious, wonderful community with all the brilliant connotations that that word brings. I hadn’t seen a local community in Singapore since I was twelve maybe and it was a wonder to behold.

There was also a kid popping on the floor under a public campaign sign entitled ‘civilized Chao yang’ (small wonder why they decided to focus on that tag line). It reminded me that you can always get an idea of a place by the shops they have, the products they sell, and importantly the public campaigns they run. Australia ran a comprehensive anti-drug campaign last time I was there and Beijing focuses on graciousness, being civilized and courteous, there is something to be admired about a place that has done well enough to not care about big crimes but instead can focus on stuff like being civilized and in the case of Singapore, kind. Also there are liquor and cigarette shops everywhere so you can guess what the Chinese like to do.

We get to the office and its in an ubi-industrial like building and the office feels like a start up. There is nothing in the office. Heck there wasn’t even a water dispenser there for half a day ( it got delivered later in the day) we literally had to lift up those massive water tanks to pour our water. The tables were from ikea and the chairs were barns new, there just weren’t many of them. It was spartan and unorganized and I loved every minute of it. There was no drudgery of meetings to attend or rigidity about it, everyone communicated openly, was incredibly friendly and there was a very informal atmosphere. I mean we spent ten minutes after lunch going to various stores looking for green bean ice cream for gods sake, that’s as informal as it gets I think.

So here’s a short introduction of my co workers.

There’s Matthew whom you’ve already met.

My boss Wei Qing who is obsessed with documenting the early days of the company, I mean she loves taking photos of everything. Shes a Stanford Harvard graduate who was really encouraging and friendly, trying her best to keep everyone on task.

There’s Sam a short Jewish guy who is energetic and friendly as they come, he would spout cliches like ‘welcome to practiva where your possibilities are limitless’ and everyone would laugh like it was an inside joke. He spent three years studying Chinese and can speak it better than me. Also, he’s a Harvard MBA graduate.

Then there was winter (upon hearing that name Sam instantly quoted ‘now is the winter of our discontent). He’s a part timer I think and he’s from mainland china doing an MBA at Beijing U. He speaks pretty damn good English, apparently speaks German because he was in Munich for three years, and understands singlish because he spent a year in Singapore. So as you can see I was surrounded by really bloody smart people. Winter was a constant source of interesting facts about china and Chinese and Beijing, he even offered to show me around the baidu headquarters because somehow he has access and honestly I can’t wait, that sounds awesome.

I learnt a great deal today, helped out with the design of the greeting wall, did my own work and got great lectures from Sam whenever I asked him something. Damn do I wanna do an MBA at Harvard just to be as smart as these guys.

At night two IT guys came over, they were friends who worked in baidu and had volunteered to help with our catalogue and search database thing. For free. That was amazing, they came after work on the other side of town, think the distance of jurong to changi and then some, to help out, just for the sake of bettering themselves and learning. Try asking for that shit in Singapore. As we walked to the car through the pouring rain Wei Qing explained to me that there were tons of people like that in Beijing. These were incredibly smart and incredibly eager youngsters who came because they could get a great education and an even better job. So they were eager to prove and improve themselves, they were go getters and there’s something definitely intoxicating about being surrounded by people like that. I sure hope London is the same. In this sense, Beijing is kind of like the New York of china, and I’ll be damned if they don’t do it better than New York one day.

I’ll end today with a fun fact: did you know that rain really fucks up Beijing. This is a city with no drainage, so when it rains it floods, simple as that. Rains that in Singapore wouldn’t have caused much of a stir could literally flood road side stores here. Also, the airport stops working. Apparently the legal issues are quite messed up and no one wants to take the blame if a plane crashes, so they only fly in the best of conditions. Meaning if it rains, you’re grounded, how shit is that. I wouldn’t say it’s crippled by rain, maybe just it’s ear gets cut off or something. You don’t really expect that kind of vulnerability from the seat of the next superpower.


The first thing you see when you land in Beijing is not Beijing, in its place is a cloud of mist or smog (I have yet to be choked by it, so that’s a good sign). No amount of impressive architecture in the gorgeous modern Beijing airport can distract you from the fact that it feels like you’re looking out at a scene from a spooky horror movie involving aliens jumping out of the mist. As I take the train into town, I notice decrepit abandoned buildings and tons and tons of trees. There are parts where you just see trees and I can’t help but think that much of the forested countryside looks exactly like the outskirts of Beijing: a vast expanse of trees layered in a shroud of smog. Yay modern china.

I take something like 2 hours to get to my destination and I swear it was worth the wait. Matthew turns out to be a thirty plus year old Stanford engineering graduate who literally lives in a golf course. I get an awesome attic room, like something out of a kid’s dream, and it’s better than any airbnb place that I could have found on my own. Not bad considering that I expected to be sleeping on a couch in a tiny apartment for the next two weeks. :)

We spent the night watching a Chinese dating show of all things and Chinese is slowly coming back to me as I watch random men vie for 24 girls’ attention and watch adverts for products that are alien to me. That being said if I were to come to Beijing with no help at all I’m pretty sure I’d be dead. I couldn’t understand the taxi driver nor the security guard to this place. I made small talk with a Taiwanese girl on the train but that’s as far as my language capabilities go. Plus Beijing is so big even the cab drivers have no clue where most places are, the district of Chao yang alone is the size of Singapore, the scale of things is just ludicrous, it’s easy to feel small, insignificant and very very lost here.

There was a big but short storm soon after I arrived at matthew’s house. I am very grateful that I was indoors when it started. He told me that storms like this ground all flights out of Beijing airport and that they are really frequent right now, so fingers crossed that it doesn’t happen the day I fly off.

On a side note this golf course is amazing, it’s very western in its design, everything from the pavements, to the buildings, to the fact that its a bloody golf course screams western influence. Hell, if it weren’t for the Chinese decorations outside the apartments you could practically forget that you’re in china. I say again, yay modern china. I honestly don’t know how I feel about this western enclave and what it says about modern china but I get to benefit from it so I’m not complaining, at least not for now.












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