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.

Thursday, July 22th
Laundry Bag Adventure, Stone Tablet Museum,
Farewell to Xi'an

The stay in Xi'an was much too short. I would have liked to have stayed longer and perhaps spend more time in the various places we visited. Right now, it seems a flurry of places flew by and it's hard to distinguish them.

Today's activities include:

  • Laundry Bag Adventure. Did I mention the upper floors of a hotel are usually nicer than the lower floors? When I asked for a room change because the traffic noise was keeping me awake, they moved me from the 10th floor up to the 13th floor. I guess the Chinese are not superstitious about the number 13.

    Anyway, the room on the 13th floor was a little nicer than the one on the 10th floor. The study table was longer and bigger. We have bedcovers. The AC is whisper quiet. We have alcoholic beverages. We have more lights. And the laundry bags are made of cloth. A cheap cloth but still, not plastic.

    I'm checking out today. While packing my stuff, I decide to use one of the cloth laundry bags to put my souvenirs in to protect them.

    Red Alert! Red Alert!

    I didn't even get to push the elevator button when the floor lady comes after me and says I must give the cloth laundry bag back. She saids she will give me a plastic one instead. This is fiendish efficiency but not very clever. Why didn't they just leave plastic laundry bags in the room and just forget the cloth ones altogether? I chalk this one up to another mystery of life.

    Well I tried.

    [Tiger Stone Tablet]

  • Stone Tablet Museum. For our last day trip, we went to see a museum of stone tablets from various dynasties. This was a very interesting place and I wish I had more time to spend here. There, inscribed in stone, were various types of Chinese calligraphy in various sizes! I never knew before the sheer variety of Chinese writing styles. Also, this museum was a stone library of Chinese culture and education. There were complete Chinese texts written in stone!

    I went to the gift store and ended up bargaining for a pink jade bracelet. And then, I let Andrew buy it because he really wanted it more than I did! Then I found myself bargaining for two pink jade bracelets! Andrew bought the one he wanted and I bought one myself. I didn't really want the bracelet either but I got it cheap.

  • Shopping Expedition. After a hotpot lunch, we went shopping in the local shops around the restaurant. I found a CD place and they didn't have much of a selection. Why is it that all the CD stores in China don't have much of a selection?

    I found a CD with a song I've heard in the discos and on Chinese TV. It seems like a Chinese common culture thing because most people knew the tune and the words. Besides, the song is cute and sounds like a folk tune. I later learned it's' a popular song made famous by a Taiwanese singer!

    Anyway, I wanted to say I learned a song in China. The song's name is dui mian de nu hai kan guo lai.

  • Flight Back to Beijing. The Xi'an airport is actually much nicer than the Beijing airport. At least there is an automated sign showing the flight information and gate numbers. There were more chairs at the gate so you can sit down. There were several gift counters containing items that were superior to that in the Beijing airport too.

    The flight itself seemed to go by much faster than the 1.5 hours given. There was still a fair amount of turbulence though.

    Now that I think about it. I don't know why Cathy booked my flight back to Beijing as I could have easily flew directly from Xi'an to Hong Kong and save myself 24 hours. Of course, I would have to bring everything with me to Xi'an in the first place. We are staying overnight in Beijing and then tomorrow morning most of our group flies home to Los Angeles. I'm going on to Hong Kong. But that's another story.

  • Later That Night. I'm packing all my stuff because we leave early tomorrow morning. It seems I have more stuff than I originally thought!

    I also decide to make a cyber cafe run and pickup my roll of photos from the Kodak place. I arrive at 9pm but the Kodak place is closed! Arrrgh! This means I have to come back tomorrow morning to get the photos.

    The cyber cafe is crowded and their Internet connection is slow from all the users. I manage to download the first few daily entries of Xi'an onto my webpage and decide to leave.

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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