Today is the last day of my week long break from school. October 1 is National Day for China and the following 6 days are National Day Golden Week Holidays (Click HERE to learn more). So, in observance of National Day, the schools of China, or at least Beijing, are out of session. A lot of Chinese citizens come to Beijing during this holiday, so all of the tourist attractions are a bit more crowded than the usual summer mob. A number of non-native Beijingers return home, as well. As this is one of the times that gathering with family is enjoyed.
For the first day I had off, which was Thursday, October 1, I went to Beihai Lake with David, a guy from my church here in Beijing (Information about the church coming soon). The weather and air quality index (AQI) were fantastic. For three prior days, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, it had rained a large amount, so it washed away all of the smog. Thursday was also really windy, so that helps a lot as well. It was one of the better parks I have been to here in Beijing. I feel it was better than Summer Palace but that may be because it was a smoggy day when I went to Summer Palace and I was also lugging around my camera and its bag and that is never very enjoyable.
On Friday, David and I met up again and went to 798 Art District, which is on the east side of Beijing. I was expecting mainly street art, such as graffiti and a few other things, but what we saw was art galleries, higher-end (not incredibly fancy) restaurants and dessert shops, sculptures along the sidewalks, as well as some graffiti. The weather and AQI on this day was also relatively really good. Way less windy compared to the previous day as well.
Overall, those two days were really enjoyable and the two of us did not spend a lot of money, which is always good.
I did not do much at all on Saturday. I just watched a bunch of videos on YouTube, watched a movie that I cannot seem to remember at the moment, and ate at the cafeteria of Peking University.
Sunday was a pretty good day, too. Sundays are currently my favorite days of the week (I would have to say Wednesdays are my favorite weekday). This is because I attend church at 11 am, go to lunch with some of the other attendees, go back to the dorm for about an hour break, play ultimate frisbee, then wrap up the day with dinner with fellow frisbee throwers. The AQI was not very good. When the AQI is at a certain level, one should be careful and try not to overwork oneself playing sports. So all of us throwers were mindful of this and also drank plenty of water.
On Monday I played with majiang (麻将) (also spelled as mahjong) with my Beijing Normal University (北师大) teacher, Cao Yan (曹燕), her hometown friend, and his roommates. This was my second time playing the game. We played for about 7 hours. We also ate dinner during that time frame, but we you are playing that game, it does not feel that long at all. I did not win any rounds at first, and I was unreasonably nervous. I was like that the first time I played, too, which was back in the States. After awhile, I got the hang of it and started winning a bit. I think I won about 3 or 4 rounds. I really enjoyed playing the game with them all. And right now, I am longing to play the game.
I met up with some people from church on Tuesday and went to a “national park” about 40 minutes west of Wu Dao Kou (五道口) by city bus. In America, national parks are a more grand and official place. This national park that we visited felt more like a regional or county park. It was not grand. Don’t get me wrong, it was not bad. It just was not, you know, grand. We ate lunch together, rode back to Wu Dao Kou, ate Korean-styled shaved ice desserts (雪冰 [literally ‘snow ice’]). I ate the chocolate flavor, some other people ate the green tea flavor.
Today is Wednesday. I don’t have much going on today. I do have bible study tonight at 7 pm. I ride my bike to it, since it’s really close. It takes me less than 10 minutes to get there. Today’s AQI is 336, which is really high and labelled as “hazardous” (Click HERE to see Beijing’s AQI and HERE for Los Angeles’ AQI). When I went to go eat lunch today, I did wear my mask on the way there and back, so I do take some caution.
Song of the Day:
My Love by The Bird and the Bee (To see the not-so-great music video, click HERE. You should click there just to hear the song, not to watch.)
Bible Verse of the Day:
The lord is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayers of the righteous.
Proverbs 15:29 NLT
Alright, I am signing off. I hope you have a wonderful day here on God’s canvas.