Monday, May 4, 2009


(Tiananmen = gate of heavenly peace)
Friday, May 1st was International Labor Day. But you probably didn't know that, did you? That's because you live in America, one of only two countries in the world that celebrates Labor Day on a different day. Why? Because America can. And Canada can... tag along. After tossing around a few ideas, and having a few fall through, Tim, Ryan, Cameron, and I decided to go to Beijing for a couple days. According to common sense, it was the wrong weekend to go; Beijing is already chalked full of people, but especially on holidays. And it felt like every one of them climbed aboard the no. 9 bus with us as we left the train station Saturday morning. Where were we going? We weren't sure, which was the beauty of our visit; no plans. I needed to buy new shoes (I've never been able to say that my shoes "broke" before, but I'm pretty sure my foot's not suppose to stick out the side), and everyone else mostly just wanted to eat at Subway. I was the only one who had never been to Tiananmen Square during any of my visits; so I quickly shouted the idea out to everyone as we were passing it on the no. 9 bus. They sort of shrugged their shoulders and we got off the bus. Most of our decisions were made with the shrugging of shoulders. And here is what ensued:

9 - 10 am - Tiananmen Square, not only the biggest square in the world, but apparently the most bugged. Why they closed the viewing of Mao's body on such a busy day is beyond me.
10:30 - 11:30 - wi-fi @ Starbucks
12 - 1 pm - foot-long Subway Melt w/ 10 yuan Mt. Dew (you finally made it, MD!)
1 - 3 - shopping at a yuppy outdoor mall - I bought new cross-trainers
3 - 4 - walking in a circle for an hour
4 - 7 - reading, napping, drinking at the Bookworm, which was, unfortunately, a few hundred feet from where we started. Great bookstore, horrible online map. I loved the fact that there was a bar. It felt more right drinking a Gin n' Tonic while reading LOTR than coffee ever has.
7:30 - 8:30 - bloomin' onion & medium rare burger at Outback - truly novelty in China
9 - 11 - waiting at a riverside street of shops and bars for Tim's college friend to show up (she was on her own and kept having to borrow random people's phones to call Tim as she tracked us down)
11 - 2 am - chatting and walking with Tim's friend, Lisa, an English teacher in S. Korea
2:30 - 11 am- sleep
12 - fruitless search for more Mt. Dew (good grief, it's good)
2:30 pm - train ride home. My seat was next to a pair of cute Chinese kids squeezed together into one seat. It was a brother (9) and sister (11), whom I talked with the entire hour ride, instead of reading and listening to music, my original plan. You can't miss an opportunity to try out your Chinese with kids. There's nothing better than making them laugh out loud by telling them that your friend is actually your 40 year old grandpa. "Bu ke neng!" they kept shouting (impossible).

The greatness in the trip could have also been its downfall. Our purposelessness, thankfully, didn't spill over into how we related to one another. It's always a tendency on vacation for me to live selfishly, to only think about what I want to do. But we grew together on this trip. While we have been together for a good eight months, Ryan made an interesting observation over our burgers at Outback.

"There are still ways that we don't know each other," he said as he dipped his fried onion slice into that 2nd bowl of bloomin' onion sauce, which you always have to ask for, "You guys have never seen what I'm like when I pursue a girl."

"Or when we're with our families," Cameron added.

How deeply can you know someone?
Why do Chinese people eat ice cream before their meal and eat white rice last? I have no idea.

Our picture in front of the father of Chinese democracy, Sun Yat-Sen.
Still revered, I guess.

North Face. Ben Sherman. Nike. Quiksilver. Apple. It ruled.

sleepy head at the hostel.


As a Redskins fan, I'm not sure how I missed this video. It's probably because I don't pay enough attention to Chris Cooley's blog, which is one of the most popular player blogs in all of sports, and there's a reason why. Aside from being one of the best Tight Ends in football, Cooley works hard to give his readers tons of backstage info and stories about the Redskins you could never get anywhere else. This fantasy draft video from last fall is a great example. Fred Smoot is hilarious.


Linda said...

Did you take the tunnel under the street from Tiananmen Square to the entrance of the Forbidden City? Very cool. Can't wait til you come home and we can compare notes! :-)

Jon Allison said...

didnt go to the forbidden city. tiananmen is actually the only famous spot I've been to in Beijing. All my friends have already been everywhere!

Cameron said...

HAHA! Why do Chinese people eat ice cream before their meal and eat rice last? Good question, should find a Chinese person and ask them!