I’m clearly not getting enough roughage in my diet…
- Can we all get on board with the idea that whatever you feel about Τibet, the PRC, or the price of cabbage in Zhengzhou, when protesting the Olympic torch relay: leave the athletes alone? Is that too much to ask? And this goes for both sides.
- That said, athletes should be free to say whatever they want. If they have political views, let ‘em out. Sports has always had its political side. Lest anyone forget, today is the 37th anniversary of the US Ping Pong team’s historic trip to China.
- The Red Sox are 4-4 and people are worried. Really? They opened the season with 18 days on the road covering three countries, and they won 3 out of 7. I’d take that for a late-July trip through the AL Central, never mind to Asia and back.
- I’m taking the bus now. It’s partially a fiscal decision and also because YJ spent a Sunday afternoon in the warm embrace of Al Gore and came away thinking that every time we turn on the hot water, somewhere in the world something dies. She’s probably right. But the real reason I’m riding the bus is Beijing taxi drivers.* Seriously. If I get a cabbie that a) knows the Beijing roads b) can break a bill larger than a 5 RMB note without whining and c) doesn’t smell like they’ve used garlic bread as a loofah sponge then I’m happy. And wondering if I’m on camera. I’ve ranted before about the almost blithe ignorance of Beijing geography on the part of many cabbies (though I hear the good people at the Immersion Guides are pitching in on this), but now I’ve put my 0.40 RMB where my mouth is and am riding the bus to and from work. My blood pressure is lower and my wife thinks I’m listening to her so…daily double!
- The Nanluoguxiang street festival has been canceled. That small lane, as touristy as it is getting, is still a model for what a ‘cool Beijing’ could look like. No touts. No “lady bar” scam artists. Just good people, both foreigners and Chinese, hanging out, sipping tea, and doing some shopping. Last year’s street fair was incredible: a locally-sponsored endeavor that transformed the hutong into one long block party. It was fun, safe, and community-organized. Needless to say, the government hated it. I guess too many of the man-purse crowd couldn’t get their Audis through or something, whatever the reason, it’s been postponed indefinitely. Which reminds me…I’ve heard a rumor from the hutong that the only reason the eminently sensible step of making the lane a pedestrian-only street hasn’t been taken is that too many KTV Communists choose their mistresses from among the co-eds at the Central Drama Academy and wouldn’t want their polyester-loving little ernai flowers to get too mussed up walking to the end of the street. Anyone hear more about this?
- Speaking of which…if you’re going to Houhai or Qianhai on the weekend. LEAVE. THE. CAR. AT. HOME. Narrow streets with a body of water on one side plus trishaws, bar touts, bicycles, and actual pedestrians, are not conducive to two-way traffic. Last Friday, I watched a 35 MINUTE stand off between two Audis result in a 10-car, two-truck, four-rickshaw, and multiple bicycle traffic snarl. The whole scene began–surprise, surprise–when neither breathing/talking/smoking comb over wished to lose face and give way. If ever there was a more poignant metaphor for China’s current political situation, I’ve yet to see the visual.
- I’m going to say this once more: Τibet was not “always” a part of China. “Always” is a pretty big claim. Since when? The Mesozoic? Please remove the word “always” from any sentence talking about history unless such sentence begins, “The Yankees have always sucked…”
- This Sunday promises to be one of those special days for walking or bicycling around the city. Seriously, spring in Beijing has the shelf life of a med fly, let’s get out there and enjoy it. And while you’re at it…pop on down to Nanluoguxiang and buy something.
- Finally, sometime last month, Jottings at the Granite Studio passed 400 posts and 1500 comments. Quite a small number compared to the big boys, but respectable enough for a hobby. Thanks to everyone for stopping by.
*I did in fact take a cab about two weeks ago after the Danwei Plenary session. I got in and the cabbie murmured under his breath: “我不喜欢老外.” “你说什么?” I asked. He said, a little louder and a bit taken aback that I understood him in the first place: “我说：我不喜欢老外.” I just opened the book I was reading and suggested, “那是公平的。我不喜欢素质低的土包子.” Needless to say, the conversation was…strained after that.