First off, new Chin-glish phrase is… 狗的猫宁 (Pinyin: gou de mao ning). This phrase means “good morning.”
This past week has been filled with many new experiences. The most notable were the culinary experiences. This past weekend was Chinese mid-autumn festival. Of course I tried real Chinese Yue Bing (moon cakes). For those that don’t know, moon cakes are round (or in some cases rectangular) Chinese pastries filled with either red bean or lotus seed paste. They are traditionally eaten during Chinese mid-autumn festival. It’s probably just me, but I didn’t like them that much. Oh well…
On a brighter side, I found a number of restaurants in Beijing that serve very good American food. I found a moderately expensive, but VERY good hamburger restaurant; a Belgian restaurant that serves waffles, and a number of cheap dumpling shops.
The best discovery was a pizza restaurant in Sanlitun (a fun neighborhood in Central Eastern Beijing) called “Gung Ho Pizza.” I was able to get a very tasty margarita pizza for less than 9 US dollars. Needless to say I will be going back there… maybe tomorrow.
But (I saved the best for last) I also tried something I never thought I would have the courage to try… I ate a live scorpion. Yup… live… it was crawling in my mouth. In a side street in Wangfujing (a popular area near Tiananmen square), a street vendor was selling scorpions on a stick. A few of my friends and I tried them. I don’t think I’ll eat scorpions again any time soon, but I’m glad I can cross “Eat a scorpion” off my Chinese bucket list.
Aside from food, this past week my classmates and I traveled a little outside Beijing to do some hiking. We were all a little surprised because what CET advertised as a hike, turned out to be close to scaling the side of a mountain. It was a rough climb up, but we all made it to the top and it was nice to get out of the city for a day.
On the way down, we picked up a lot of trash that had been thrown on the mountain paths. The environmentalist in me was very excited to clean up those trails.
On a small academic note, classes have been the same. A little difficult (being completely in Chinese) and very busy. However, today I noticed a considerable improvement in my Chinese language skills. Without any help or significant effort, I was able to direct a cab around an area of Beijing, explain a problem with my cell phone to China Unicom (my Chinese cell phone provider), pay my monthly cell phone fees, find out which restaurants in a nearby mall accept American credit cards, and describe a number of differences between Chinese and western classical music to my roommate… all in Chinese. Thanks CET!
Well that’s all for now. Next week we will be visiting the great wall (YEAH!) and the following weekend we’ll be seeing Peking Opera.