Eye of the Chicken
A journal of Harbin, China

Tourist time
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My friend Barb is here and we've been tromping around Beijing doing tourist stuff for the last few days. I intended to post a bunch of tourist pix, but alas. For some reason, I can't see all the pictures I posted to my Flickr account, so I can't really give you a bunch because I don't know what I'm looking at.

But here's the Great Wall:


Really, it's impossible to take a bad picture of that thing.

For others, please check my Flickr site: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bauman_marcy. My husband tells me that I uploaded some of Tian'An Men Square at night, among others. Couldn't prove it by me . . .

It's been a whirlwind week. We had a fabulous couple of days in Harbin being wined and dined by my friends, and we've spent 4 days in Beijing, being taken care of by the incomparable Mr. Zhang, a taxi driver frequently employed by my friends at BIT. He's picked me up from the airport (or train station) whenever I've come to Beijing. On this trip, he drove us around at our whim for four days, pointed out where we were on the map, helped us get opera tickets, helped me retrieve my ATM card when it got eaten by a bank machine in the Forbidden City, bought us snacks one morning when we didn't have time for breakfast, found a place for me to buy a bathing suit, pointed out highlights of the city, and on and on.

The best part? He doesn't speak a word of English. (Well, he can say "thank you" and "bullshit.") But he's really good at talking to foreigners - he worked with my pidgin Chinese, and between my limited vocabulary and a lot of pantomime, we actually had some conversations, in addition to exchanging basic information (like when he would pick us up). I had my first phone conversation in Chinese on this trip, when I called him to tell him our plans to swim at the Water Cube had changed. (We had to delay a few hours. Of course we swam at the Water Cube. Barb's my swimming buddy from way back.) And in addition to all of that, he taught me Chinese. I'd ask about something, he'd answer, and I'd repeat what he said until I got the tones right. What a guy. He really made the week.


And here's some social commentary:


See, people? That's what you do if you make bike commuting a priority - you put up COVERED bike racks. Not highly expensive, inefficient and ugly bike lockers. Covered bike racks. How hard can that be? Why don't WE have them all over?

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