written/non-written things by me (from 2005-2008)

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

I'm looking out "my" window....

...Upon a six lane highway. It's almost 10 in the morning. Squat trucks and cars are passing. There is a ferris wheel and some amusement park roller coasters in the hazy, smoggy distance, endless clusters of 20 story apartment towers, there are some faint outlines of mountains very near. I am very surprised to see the mountains. They are as tall as the Catalinas in Tucson, but a little closer to me. Everything is rendered soft by the haze. The sky is a dull white.

This is a paper cut on the parlor window, decorations from the New Year. There is a basketball court down below. I watched a lady jogg slowly around the tower, a promising track for running.

My breakfast: oranges, dumplings, bok choy, tomatoes, and my favorite sesame oil chilli sauce. (I actually made this) Haiyan leaves to catch the train at 7 am.

My room. I really like the hard flat Chinese style bed.

The beautiful office (Haiyan's bedroom), from where I type this. I am using Robert's pretty fast PC, but all the script is in Chinese. I have to guess at the right prompts. Haiyan is going to stay in this room now. That's her little bed. She gave me the bedroom, which is rather spacious. She would have it no other way.

Even the laudrey-hanging room has an amazing view. With all of the changing flights hysteria in the states I never got my luggage (2 huge suitcases and my bike!) I will probably be wearing this shirt and socks for a while.

This is the court yard/parking area in between the apartment clusters. I walk towards the green building to get to the street.

Here is the fairly busy street I live off of. Haven't really been out yet expect for standing outside waiting to be picked up by Aihua to register my foreigner status at the police station. They didn't arrive because they thought I was sleeping in. But at least I got to people watch, and be watched by people. They like to look slyly out of the side of there eyes. When I smile they in turn light up, or shyly giggle. I am trying to say "Ni hao" without actually thinking "Hello"

Here is one of the many three-wheeled motorcycle taxis. This one was rather shiny looking. Others were a little raggedy and clunky. I can't wait to crawl in the little space inclosed in the back for a ride. There were many heavy duty bicycles too, some of which had huge carpeted pallets attched to the back.

bonus: Some scenes from the journey...

The route from San Francisco to Beijing skims the continents of the Pacfic coast, along Alaska, across the Bering Sea, over Siberia (shown here) and across the vast ice sheets of the sub-Arctic ocean. This was an astounding sight. This planet is unbelievable, I spent hours looking out that window.

The frozen Bering Sea

Shiny Beijing Airport people mover. This was the glitzy part of the terminal. Standing in line at the less glitzy, more solemn customs and visa checkpoint, I wanted to take a picture of the mega screen with red scrolling English text that stated the rights of the "State Organ" to prevent foreigners from compromising the frontier, which might result in the "disposal" of said foreigner...but I was too scared.

We walked out of the airport and I was immediately hit with the smell of burning of various materials, ranging from tires and plastic, to food. I was going to ask what's that smell, but then I realized that would get me laughed at, because that's the smell of Beijing.

The van ride on the Ring Road freeway was brisk, we passed clusters of skyscrappers rendered sci-fi through the smog. And stanger-- along a stretch of the highway there were some, I am guessing, open-air factories (?) were men in helmets and protective gear torched big pieces of metal and bustled about under a fountain sparks.

Well, that was the first 20 hours. I will now brave the unknown and go for a walk, hoping not to get lost before I must be picked up to go to the Police Station, where I will under go a medical examination and other procedures that according to Finlay "scare the hell out" of you.

Tonight, there is a banquet with the school Directors. I suspect they will try to get me drunk, as is the tradition at banquets. It's rude not to join in on the toast, but I hope they will go easy on me because I want to be concsious to meet with Haiyan's friend who will be visiting and sleeping over later tonight.

I hope to write about Haiyan more later. She was a very accomodating host, very sweet. Upon entering the house she gave slippers and promptly made me tea. Later, she made me a fried egg (best I have ever had) and warm soup with chinese greens. She apologizes for her English, but I think it is very good. If I need to slow down or use different words she kind of indicates that she is confused with her expression. I am so lucky that she can help me get things sorted out here. I would be baffled without her. We have tiny difficulties communicating, mostly giggling.

(Hope this blog post turns out alright. I can only post. I myself can not access the website to see what it looks like, for reasons I haven't yet figured out.)

My name is Hannah Pierce-Carlson