The Teeming Masses

Trip Start May 21, 2010
Trip End Jun 27, 2010

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Monday, May 31, 2010

May 31st 2010

Ni Hao my loyal followers. I trust all is well back home. Well today was a fairly slow day but I will try my best, with the help of my extensive vocabulary, to draw the most from every sublime detail, every tiny orifice that I can explore and expand upon in order to lengthen what would otherwise be a rather short, to the point, precise, miniscule blog post. I may stall for time.... I may stall for time... but to the point:

Today mom was having lunch with the University bigwigs then teaching yet another class (which went quite well I hear) therefore yours truly was all by his lonesome. I decided to make a trip to the Beijing Military Museum - which I was told was also a Cultural Revolution history museum. I was quite excited to see it and braved the hour long JAM PACKED subway ride to the museum only to discover that it was closed! I had forgotten that most museums in Beijing are closed on Mondays. I must admit my dear readers I despaired; I felt fear, shame, sadness, utter dark agony of the soul and supreme loss. It took all of my self control not to tear of my close, matt my hair and run screaming into the streets like a wild beast. But then I got over it. I decided, the intrepid traveler that I am, to make the most of the opportunity and explore an area of Beijing I would not have otherwise seen. Walking along the main street in the area it did not take me long to discover something else to do. What looked like a giant sundial in the distance turned out to be the Beijing World Art Museum - which his conveniently shaped as a giant sundial proving that I was not, indeed, suffering hallucinations. The Museum was presently featuring an exhibition on the ancient world. I decided to check it out and was treated to multitudinous treasures from all over the world. The exhibition covered artifacts from ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, Mexico (think Aztecs not Taco Bell) and India. It was all artfully displayed with what I'm sure would have been captivating descriptions if I spoke Chinese. What was really cool about the Museum was that you could climb on the sundial for a panoramic view of Beijing. While up there I was standing next to a Chinese family when the young boy started speaking to me in Chinese. I don't know what he said the first time but I am certain the second time was something like "hey! Im talking to you!" Eventually his parents looked over, laughed, and... I assume... explained to him that I don't speak Chinese. Around the sundial were several statues of famous Chinese people from the past 1000 years - from poets to artists to Wushu (Kungfu) masters. From the top of the sundial I spotted a HUGE building in the distance and found my next target. I walked along the long boulevard towards the mysterious building - taking a few detours through crowded alleyways with vendors selling everything from bogus electronics to fake purses to giant spiked fruit that looks like its from the Flinstones.
What I discovered at the end of the road was that the massive building was the Beijing West Railway Station - and that it was filled to the brim with people. There were people sitting around, people walking, people running, people begging, people of all shapes and sizes (although all Chinese). I saw a hunchbacked beggar relieving himself in the bushes (which is not as taboo here as it is back home), a family of Chinese people asleep on their luggage, a group of people eating a four course meal on the ground outside the station. It was there, among the teeming masses, that it really hit me HOW MANY PEOPLE THERE ARE IN THIS COUNTRY. After the train station I walked back to the subway for another long and crowded ride (lots of people staring at me once again). I met up with mom in the apartment before we relaxed before heading to the Carrefour Shopping Centre to stock up on groceries and get dinner. We ended up eating at Pizza Hut, which in China is really fancy. You know the way they dress up McDonalds in the Champs D'Elysees. Well this was like Pizza Hutt swallowed up Moxies and created some crazed creature from beyond the deep. Anyway I had bacon fried rice (not as good as it sounds trust me) and Lychee Slush Drink which was really good. Once mom and I got groceries we headed back to our apartment to rest up for another long day in the Middle Kingdom.
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Ian on

That's a hell of a train station. How do they get the trains so high up? :-)

Choyjoy on

You definitely are "Adventurous" Sir Noah. I continue to be impressed with your spontaneous venturing of new found sights.

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