The New School
A middle school opened up in plain sight of our window. Every morning, i just after therese leaves for work, they start playing music over the loud speaker. I look out, and all the kids are single file, obedient and focused. The headmaster leads them all through morning exercises, which basically consist of marching in place. He is barking out instructions, or counting their rhythm (left, right, left, right?) and at a certain point, they all respond in unison. It's eerie. These kids are maybe six to nine years old and they are actually disciplined.
Again, if you haven't already enrolled your child in Chinese classes, it wouldn't be a bad idea to start.
The New Drum
I bought a little djembe in Lombok and carried it home. When we introduced this new artifact to our house, our cats were equal parts enthralled and perplexed. The spent the better part of 30 minutes just being near it. They smelled it, circled it, rubbed it, smelled it again, watched it, stalked it, and purred at it. It was all very cute.
The Window Cleaners
I wasn't feeling too hot one day and decided to work from home. From the couch, i have a view east, of hutongs, distant buildings, and the more of Sun City. I'm sitting there working or whatever and sense that i'm being watched. I was. By three guys in soldier's attire rappelling down in front of my window.
The Weird Food Street
After two and a half years, i finally made it to Wangfujing's famous weird food street where one can find live scorpians, starfish, and seahorses (among other weirdness) ready to be grilled and eaten. As this is a largely Beijing-centric blog, i will include the obligatory eww-people-really-eat-that-crap-eww-scary photo. Enjoy.
The Other Accident
About four weeks after therese's accident, i was visited by the accident fairy as well. This past friday, after riding home from a jam session with John, my AB,D! co-star, i got hit by a car. I was approaching a blind intersection where a small side street meets a main road. There are many bikes and pedestrians around. There is a large van blocking my view of the street coming from the small road. As i approached the intersection, i watched for cars coming. By the time i could see the car, i was in the intersection, and he wasn't stopping. He hit the front-right end of my bike hard, destroying the front wheel and frame, and hurling me over the handlebars into the pavement. All things considered, i landed rather skillfully, absorbing the initial impact with my two hands and wrists. I ended up with a scrape on my left arm, a pretty severely bruised right hand/wrist, and a little soreness.
So, i'm on the ground, feeling the sudden adrenaline rush in my body. I do a quick check of my vitals: head protected from impact, no bones sticking out, no pooling blood under the clothes, legs and arms work fine... that whole process takes about 5 seconds. I bounce up from the ground like a quarterback who has just received the cleanest hit the linebacker can deliver. I am focused and furious.
I tell this guy he's a stupid idiot. He tells me i'm going too fast and i ran into him. (Side note, even if that were true, it would still be his fault. It's ALWAYS the responsibility of the larger vehicle in China.)
We examine his car. The marks on the front betray him; he hit me.
A crowd gathers. I realize people are more interested in hearing the laowai argue in Chinese than they are in making sure i'm ok. Then again, i was probably pretty entertaining. A bystander tries to breach an agreement, and the driver offers to pay for my busted up bike. We settle on 200RMB, about $30. I know that's enough to fix my bike, but i still feel screwed. I want to ask for 2,000 RMB, but i know that will only make this more of a spectacle. I take the money, lock up my bike, and flee the scene, anxious to be invisible for a while.
That night, AB,D! played an abbreviated show to a small crowd of concerned, awesome friends. My wrist was in pain by the end of the first set, but i managed a three-song second set to round out the night. By the show's end, i was seriously questioning whether it was broken. However, i think it's just a bad bruise and after resting it over the weekend, i think it will be back to normal shortly. Plus, i have more proof that my bones are unbreakable. Which is nice.
*I made it up to justify my infrequent blogging. Hopefully next month will return to normal.