Sunday, July 13, 2008

Cats, Chinese dudes, and the real Bei Hai

Yesterday was another saturday of no Big Brother practice due to most of the leadership being MIA. So I took the opportunity to go sightseeing again. The skies were crystal clear, blue and showed signs of the pollution-free olympics China promises. It was hot, but cartainly bearable. I took the subway to Tian'Anmen square and walked north, past the forbidden city and through hutongs. My destination was Bei Hai but the journey was what most excited me. It has long been my belief that the best way to explore a new city is on foot, with only a rough idea of where you intend to end up. Getting lost usually returns great rewards and today was no exception.

So yeah, i walked past the Forbidden City but couldn't resist taking a quick peak. I had been there in November and it is truely spectacular, but today i would make it no further than the west entrance gate.

This guy was chillin in the shade. He was tame, adorable, and made me miss spanky. I am seriously considering getting a cat. I mean, once i move out of the hotel, of course.

A few blocks down the road, I passed this old house whose facade probably predates the united states by hundreds of years. If you look carefully, you can spot the TV and Internet cables running up the side of the wall.

These checkers-playing dudes were one of the best discoveries. I've noticed it's almost impossible to sneak up on the locals, mostly because you draw so much attention to yourself as a white guy. But i walked past these guys and they really didn't bat an eye. I kicked myself for not taking the picture so i doubled back, crossed the street, and ended up behind them again. I snapped off a few shots and they had no idea.

I eventually made it into Bei Hai (shortly after a fly landed on my ice cream...)

Bei Hai is different from Hou Hai in that you pay for admission and it contains some historical points of interest. I couldn't tell you what any of them represent, but clearly, they are great. This guy is also great. They should charge admission to see him. Here, Greybeard is smoking a cigarette and watching passerbys. This small photo doesn't do it justice, but if you double click on him, you can see a bigger picture. The smoke and beard blend together to make one gnarly mess, and i approve.

More cat pictures, but i only posted one. This guy had an audience too. He kept changing positions and stretching out, flaunting his white coat for the public. He certainly knew how to work a crowd.

Also fish pictures. Lot's of ponds with abundant and HUGE koi. Seriously, some of them the size of a small child. I've never seen these fish so big, but that's what happens when there's a constant supply of touristy feeding them. If you look carefully here, you can see the kids open hand sending another meal aflight.

My friend Sandy came to meet me and we began exploring a little. She's lived in Beijing most of her life and, like many locals, has never really visited the sights. I wanted her to tell me stories about why this building or that statue was important. Alas, i got nothing. She did tell me about this tree though. Those are metal props holding it up. I said, "Don't you think that's a little strange?" And she said, "No, it's a very old tree. It's probably just tired." Isn't that just the most logical answer ever? Adorable.

Here's Sandy. She's moving to Finland for school. She's a really awesome Ultimate player and a good friend. She will be missed, but now i have a reason to visit Finland. So that's good.


1 comment:

The Tao said...

those cats aren't as pretty as my yard's cats