Saturday, October 29, 2011

Taxis, Pearls, Street Fights, and holes in the ground to pee in.

Okay -
Sunday morning here in Beijing – the 12 hour time change has got us waking pretty early so I have already walked to the vegetable market and made juice from my purchase – several carrots the size of dining room table legs something that looked like fat spinach, three tomatoes, a stalk of two foot long celery, four apples and a hunk of ginger - the whole lot, fresh from the farm, cost me about two bucks.

street fight001

Yesterday we worked in the morning getting together our lessons and presentations for the coming week at the Western Academy of Beijing and the International School of Beijing. Then in the early afternoon Trish collected us and we cabbed to the pearl market where she introduced Sara to her favorite jewelry maker Cheryl. Now I am not a jeweler aficionado by any means – but I know a deal when I see one and the pearl markets in china are a bargain and a half. Unfortunately, in switching lenses on my camera I messed up and turned the auto focus off and everything taken is too fuzzy to discern – so take my word for it – it’s a bustling flea market kind of place with enough pearls to fill an Olympic swimming pool. Needless to say Sara walked away with about seven pounds of stuff for herself and gifts to pass out when we return.

street fight002

Before going into the place – a five or six story warehouse type building divided into shops and stalls – mostly named for the woman who is running the establishment, Lisa’s, Cheryl,s, Connie’s etc etc - we stopped for a quick lunch at a small restaurant across the street.

I had a very nice bowl of hot and sour soup, Sara ordered some fried dumplings and Trish got a plate of sautéed greens and garlic – once the food arrived we realized we all liked what the other had ordered so we just shared everything and had a fine nosh. It was here I got to experience that charming overseas custom of peeing into a hole in the ground. The bathroom consisting of a slot in the floor with a small open drain. Not a problem for a guy – but I do wonder how a western woman would approach the situation the first time. I also wonder if it was really necessary to hang the sign warning “NO BOWEL MOVEMENTS ALLOWED”.

bike repair001

We ran into a little excitement as we crossed the street from lunch into the pearl market as there was a little dust up between a couple guys. Something Trish assured us was a popular pastime in Beijing – arguing in the street with an audience. I grabbed a couple quick shots of the combatants and it was then, switching back to a different lens that I messed up the focus thing. I didn’t catch it until taking shots of the mobile bicycle repair gal you see here.

bikerepair002

So that’s it from day three in Beijing – I’ll keep you posted.

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