China 1999

Written by Al Wong (Write to me)

This is my experience in Beijing, China in the Summer of 1999. If you came to this webpage first, it's better if you start from the beginning of the story.

Saturday, July 10th
Beihai Park, Cyber Cafe,
NASA One More Time!

One or two mosquitoes more resistant to the RAID hot plate kept me up until about 4am when they finally succumbed to the pesticide. The RAID hot plate had been on for more than an hour this time. I got a little sore throat from it too. At least those mosquitoes won't be bothering me tonight. I got about 5-6 bites from them last night! They are getting vicious.

Today's activities include:

  • Beihai Park. We went here in the morning because the weather is cooler. This beautiful park was created in the Qing dynasty as a resting place for the emperors. It is a huge park with a large lake in the middle and a few islands. It has all sorts of very beautiful ponds with literally dozens of bridges, pavilions, temples, etc. Those Qing dynasty emperors really knew how to be comfortable. Many places were very relaxing and pleasant.

    [9 Dragon Wall] The Nine Dragon Wall, similar to the one in the Forbidden City, can also be found here. Very worthwhile to see. Surprisingly, this famous site was relatively uncrowded. Very good for picture taking.

    [Stone Tablet] I also found this stone tablet with old Chinese stone script carved into it. The script was very clear and I thought this tablet was interesting.

    This park seems to be a hangout for the locals. I saw retirees performing/teaching Kung Fu forms with staff and sword. Other locals were practicing Chinese calligraphy using water and the cement squares on the floor. One lady, who was ambidexterous, drew two Chinese characters on the floor with each hand at the same time! You may also rent out boats and paddle around on the lake.

    We only had 2.5 hours to walk around the place and it was not nearly enough to see everything. I would definitely like to go back and see this park again sometime.

  • Class Session. We went over borrowing and returning things, compliments and describing what people wear in clothes and jewelry. This was a good lesson too.

  • Later That Night. It's 5:20pm and we have free time for the rest of tonight. I'm going to take a nap right now as I didn't get enough sleep last night and today's walk through Beihai Park was long. And my knees were starting to hurt again even though I'm wearing those new sport shoes. Too much walking.

    Then at 5:50pm I woke to Cathy's sepulchral voice screaming down the hallway! Dinner call. Some of our group has decided to go for the shampoo, haircut, and massage again and they have to get to the hair salon early because there are about 10 people going. So they have to eat fast. I decide to pass on the hair salon as I don't need a haircut now. Also, 7 more high school and college teachers are arriving later tonight to join us in our tours. It looks like the minibus will be getting full.

    After dinner, I decided to go to the cyber cafe to upload a couple new entries and check my email. I'm glad I did. I received 8 new email messages at Yahoo and was finally able to TELNET into Primenet! I had 170 new email messages there! Needless to say, I cleaned out my email file. I was at the cyber cafe for 93 minutes and it cost me $9.00RMB. This is approximately 1.2 cents (US) per minute! The round trip cab fare to the cyber cafe costs more than this!

    I got back to the language academy around 8:15pm and just caught Andrew at the entrance leaving for the NASA disco again! The guy is a wildman. He was kind of peeved because he had to wait 45 minutes to get permission from Cathy to go. Andrew was open for company and, although my knees were hurting, I decided to go with him. We only have one more week left in Beijing! I put on some long pants and we were off.

    As always, it was great at the NASA disco. They charged us $50.00RMB for admission this time. I thought the high admission fee was because it was Saturday. It turns out they have a stage show around 10:40pm!

    We had a good time dancing at the disco tonight. Part of it was our time in Beijing was growing short and we went for the gusto. The funny thing was Andrew was watching the time to leave and I wasn't. It was an interesting switch. Anyway, just as we were leaving, they started a stage show with dancers! Groaning to ourselves that we couldn't stay longer to watch, we left the disco and took a cab back to the language academy and made it back just at 11pm.

    Just in case I haven't mentioned it, the gates to the language academy are supposedly closed and locked at 11pm and the night watchman goes to bed. We would have to cause quite a commotion to get in after the gates close. So 11pm is our curfew. The gates open in the morning at 5:30am.

    Also, the doors to our floor leading to the stairs are locked at 9:30pm. So you have to use the elevator if you are arriving later than that. This is for "security" reasons. What do we do in the event of a fire at night, I don't know. Dive out the windows, I guess.

The Next Day China 1999 My Writings Al's Wild Web Page

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Last updated : November 8, 1999
Copyright 1999 Al Wong, Los Angeles, California, USA
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