Beijing, Hast Thou Forsaken Me?


Well folks I’m sorry to say that my Beijing arrival was disappointing. Already as I was approaching the station the rain was making me wonder if the following day visit to The Great Wall as intended would be a failure. I checked the weather and realized it would likely be rainy and miserable the entire time I was there so I figured I might not go after all. The hostel people said the tours would still happen in the rain so I considered going still, but it just felt like a lot of trouble when I can easily come back.

The messed up thing is, they said: It would be a unique experience because it doesn’t often rain in Beijing. So it rains when I get there. FANTASTIC. I won the weather lottery I didn’t want to win.

In addition, the hostel was not as clean as it was the first time. It’s the same place I went back in winter when me, Jagoda, and Gosia were in Beijing. There were a lot of people again and my dorm mates were better this time (because they were Chinese not rowdy, loud foreign kids) but the bathroom was only barely passable and I knew they didn’t clean them daily which should be a given when you have over 40 reservations at once (they said it). Also they were really rude and not helpful when it came to laundry and gouged 20 yuan for 1 load which is a load of shit. I know the price is about 8 yuan normally at hostels. 10 would be the highest “fair price” and if it’s even 15 yuan I’d say it’s stupid high but anything more is just obscene. They’re taking advantage of foreigners who won’t know the difference. For reference, before they took the coin slot off, the one in my dorm at home is only 2 yuan. I get hostels like to make money and nickel and dime the guests but there is a point it’s just greedy. Sanlitun Hostel hit that mark and I don’t think I will return if I can find another option. It’s Beijing, so that should be easy.

It would’ve been a wash if not for the fact Monica had moved back to Beijing only a week prior, so at least I had that still.. I can visit her and see her old stomping grounds from before she came to Anshan.

It was awesome seeing her again even if it wasn’t that long since I saw her last. She took me to her favorite pizza place which was really nice as it’s been a bit since I’ve had good pizza. We caught up as I tried to dry my feet a bit. I was stupid and wore my sneakers rather than sandals.

We walked around in the rain and I was immediately grateful I bought my rain jacket in Anshan for the crazy Filipino weather. Never thought I would get so much use out of it so early in my trip. Along they way I bought 2 pairs of shoes, sandals and a black lace pair of Tom’s for only 50 Yuan each. That’s a steal.. and they’re real Tom’s. Perhaps the donation isn’t happening at that price but I like them because they’re comfy and they don’t give me blisters which seems to be really easy for my feet.

I got the fickle feet to join Hana’s cheatin’ feet.

The day was full of chatting and exploring and getting rained on which sucked but well.. that’s life. She took me to a foreign foods store and I was like a kid in a candy shop. While some things I don’t care about when they’re readily available, sometimes Doritos, Salt N’ Vinegar, salami, good cheese, and CRAFT FREAKIN’ BEER is just too much a part of what I’m used to, to entirely give up. I love Chinese food, but it lacks crunch compared to the American diet and there are times I crave something crunchy (and not sweet) and I find myself wanting. Chinese people like to say Americans like sweet stuff but they can’t really talk. Everything is sweet and it drives me crazy. I know as a whole, China consumes less sugar per capita than the USA but that includes the poor and the country people who probably use next to nothing. In cities I wager it’s a bit more skewed.

At night we went to a Mexican restaurant she likes and we split a chimichanga because they were large and we weren’t starving and it was enough.

Overall, despite my Great Wall plans being a wash, I had a good time just hanging out with my friend and it was  nice it that way. She also told me where to get awesome french fries and sure enough, they were just like Our Place (my and the fam’s favorite local sports bar).

Now only for some blue cheese and some buffalo sauce.

I thought that my trip has ample opportunity for exciting things so I wasn’t as broken-hearted as I thought I’d be.

Yeah.. I didn’t anticipate just how right I’d be in all the wrong ways.


Laowai Shye


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