Saturday, July 12, 2008

Laugh, bid insanely low, walk away, flash the money, agree

Starting out with a clear and blue sky, this day gave us a view of the
mountains West of Beijing from our friend's bedroom window in the
Haidian district (university
area, Northwest in the capital). The foot of the mountains is about 45
minutes away from here by bus, and such a view is not an everyday
treat. We took the bikes for a roll and had breakfast near the
light-rail or overground metro. We had various porridge (sweet, salty)
粥 zhou, soy milk 豆浆 doujiang, mushrooms 木耳 muer and tofu skin 豆皮, and
sticky rice with ham. After a few stops on the metro, we took the taxi
to the antique market on the South side, where we did some bargaining
on Mao's little red book and some posters, a painting, and some
incense. [I should make some comments on bargaining] Everyone knows
that shopping makes you hungry, so Liv had picked out a great
restaurants for true vegetarians. The only animal course they had was
a dessert that contained eggs. Some courses closely resembled meat,
though - like (not) lamb kebab, (not) beef in brown sauce, and fried
chicken (not). Finally, we found ourselves knocked out by the heat,
and took a taxi home in order to take a nap. The sky was still blue,
and a calm wind was brushing through the city. Later on, we took a "private"
taxi to back to the station, and picked up our bikes which were parked for
0.20 Y for one day. We checked out the menu at a Korean BBQ, but
since they had no dogs, only cows, neither Anders nor Astrid wanted
to eat there, so we went Japanese instead. Great food. After loading up
fruit for the next day's field trip and stopping by the owner of a convenience
store, who met the day before for a chat, we went home.

Not so fun, but still a fact: Damned if you do it, damned if you
don't... Many taxi drivers don't wear their seat belt, but pretend
that they do. If they don't, they'll get a ticket. If they do, they
run a chance of being strangled for a few Yuan... As for passenger
seat belts - you're lucky if you find a cab that has them.

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