Saturday, May 31, 2008

SATURDAY!

So, biked in the brilliant clear blue (the first I've seen Beijing) of Saturday to the subway, then to the theatre to meet up with my friend Kemin, the director of OLIVER (a musical i helped with here) then back to my friend Jenny's for her birthday party. The music was awesome, a boy named Ben was on the bbq, champagne and grey goose flowed, girls played twister and as the sun went down the candles came out. The cute DJ showed up with his other futbol friends and he got down on one knee to tell me how much he loved my voice. He also thought I was 25. He he. Tommy and my new friend Jamie came to get me after I dropped my bike at home and we all went to an outdoor/indoor bar/club called "Dos Caligas" which is right next to the Drive-in Movie theatre (i KNOW- how cool is that?). Fairy lights were strung up and people sat in groups outside on wicker mats. Inside was a roster of alternative to hard-core punk bands and I got to pretend I was a teenager and danced my ass off in front of the speakers. At about 2:30 we cabbed it to Nan Jie for some 15 kuai shishkebobs and hotdogs :) and lots of laughing. I had my usual glitter on (which, contrary to popular belief is not only for strippers, Erica) and for some reason everyone else wanted it too- boys included. So it was a glittery group that made it to a little bar down the road which was pumping out the hip-hop and more dancing ensued. I met two extremely sweet girls just at the beginning of their own life journeys and had a great conversation. We started losing people then, which might have had something to do with the fact that it was starting to get light out (we are pretty far North, so by 4:45 it was pretty much daylight). It was down to just Tommy and myself and the new group who were at the bar. We walked out to go home then everyone tumbled out and started to play soccer (sorry, Futbol) on the street with a half-deflated ball. It was one of the funniest things I've seen- when cars would come by everyone yelled, "CAR! GAME OFF" and then when they passed, "GAME ON". I had stopped drinking long before that but watching these guys trying to play futbol was truly hilarious in their state. For some reason we got a second wind and Tammy (my new young friend from New Orleans) and I wanted breakfast. Tommy struggled with it for a moment, but finally he came along too :) By this time it was 6:03. On the way to "The Den" we met up with some crazy guy from New York who was angry at the world. I won't repeat his conversation because my Mother reads my blog... I think the accompanying pictures will tell what happened to him. :) After a truly brilliant breakfast (the guys got bloody marys..well, it WAS Sunday by this point) I stepped out into the bright sunshine of the clearest day yet in Beijing. The Sun was like a laser beam and the clouds were imprinted in the Carolina Blue with razor sharp clarity. By this time it was 8am and I had to be in the South part of town by 9am for a presentation at the Jane Gooddall Institute. oh god. Luckily it was a fantastic ride down, even though I got lost and I really think the kids from the different schools around China made great presentations for what they were doing for the environment in their towns (but I can't be sure because it was all in Chinese). sigh. The ride back was a little rough, but my iPod gave me the perfect soundtrack- for that last mile I could have used "Chariots of Fire" though...somehow I made it home in time to drop into bed, exhausted but absolutely and completely happy.

Friday, May 30, 2008

TEMPLE OF THE SUN

This Weekend was amazing. Friday afternoon I rode my bike to the Temple of the Sun in Ritan Park. As soon as I stepped through the gate it was as if time slowed to keep pace with the wonder surrounding me. Pine trees and roses swayed in a gentle breeze and an ancient stone pathway let me to the gateway of the sacrificial altar. Happily, the sacrificing ceremonies are long over, but it was still profound to go and sit right in the middle of the huge stone square. After watching the sun descend through the distant cityscape and a vertical rainbow that aligned with the West Gate, I made my way through a winding path to the "Stone Boat". It's a small bar/restaurant right on an idyllic pond framed by weeping willow trees. My friend Rachel came to hang out and we hiked up to a gorgeous Pagoda as the first star came out (which is always amazing to see because of the constant pollution/dust) and on the way up surprised two teenagers making out behind a rock. Later, a man with a loudspeaker came up telling us to get out and as the soldiers who had been enjoying the view walked past they called us "Laowai" (not the nicest way to say "foreigner") but we just laughed and waved. I think they were surprised we understood what they said.
We then made our way back down to the Stone Boat where my friend David Mitchell and his band were playing. What an amazing evening. It was like being transported back in time, listening to truly amazing music (guitars and a sitar-like instrument) on the water and no mosquitoes. :)

Later that night went to Rickshaw and got a kiss on the hand from an exceptionally cute DJ named Josh, a footballer from Manchester, England. The moon was a golden sickle giving the arch of trees opportunity for excellent shadows to guide me home. All in all, a great evening. :) and Saturday was even better. :)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

BLOG-O-RAMA!


Wow. Life has the coolest way of coming around!

So, I did not get the job for the Olympics with the company I first interviewed (but I met Lidia there, so that's why that happened), which I decided was really o.k. I'm having a brilliant time here and am so happy. THEN a few weeks ago I get this email out of the blue from the woman who interviewed me at that other company. She has resigned and is now working for this NZ events company and could I come in for an interview. I just had a phone interview from Sydney this morning and I'M WORKING A HOSPITALITY SUITE AT A HOTEL DURING THE OLYMPICS!!!! whooo hooooooo! So, every two days I'll get an influx of mostly Australian corporate types who are coming to see the games. We'll have a huge screen tv in the suite and basically, I am party host for about 18 days. that's one long party! I'm so excited I could dance! I'll let you know more as I know more. For now I'm going to help with notes for tech week of "Oliver" the musical, then going to see Jessica Meider sing at East Shore Jazz in Hou Hai. I wish you could see this place. it's got a rooftop with tables that overlooks a lake...so cool. Oh, (sigh)

guess what? I found my passport. he he...of course. oh well, had I not "lost" it, I wouldn't have met Leah who is now my Chinese teacher three times a week. Yay! I make breakfast and she teaches me Chinese (but tomorrow she's bringing Chinese pancakes). Life is just grand! :) xoxoxo

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Stormy Weather

As most days in China, today was bizarre. Since I'm at a stopping point, I'll start here. The sky is like I've never seen it; the ominous gray is a harbinger of the coming storm (isn't that a great word, "harbinger"?). I guess being here has made me appreciate words even more, now that I am reduced to the vocabulary of a toddler. The waitress of the cafe I'm at just made me go inside with her because she was afraid of the storm. She couldn't understand why I would take my coffee and go back outside. How could I explain to her that the lightening and thunder and threat of rain is exciting and gives me back the energy that was sucked away by this day.

That's as nice a segue as I could hope for, so here goes: I lost my passport.

There were no taxis, of course, so I had to go back and get my bike and ride 45 minutes to the place I thought was the Public Security Bureau. I had actually passed it 15 minutes before. : And just a little background, Betty, my brilliant bike was lost- stolen i thought- but then a week ago I was riding (on my new bike, Byron, also blue) when I literally had this feeling that she was around, and my fledgling Jedi powers found her wedged in the middle of about 100 other bikes. so, i dumped Byron and rode off with Betty. All right, back to this crazy day; I finally found the damn building with the help of a nice lady on the street and two bemused women from a furniture store. I waited in line to be told I was at the wrong window, then had the pleasure of being told that I didn't have the proper papers and to go to the local police bureau for an incident report. yeah. so looking forward to that.

I took another 45 minute bike ride to the side of town where my boss' assistants work. The two amazing girls who helped me were the highlight of my whole day. We all had lunch together and I learned how to say "egg" in Chinese. One of the girls' father is in the Police dept. and I suspect that will be one of the reasons I will be able to stay in the country. Amazing all the intricacies. After a slightly intimidating trip to the local Po Po, I had to take a taxi to the hospital to get more paperwork (can I tell you how much the Chinese love official documents) then back to the Public Security Bureau. There was no line this time, but there was also no one at the computer in aisle 12. Finally a guy showed up and I spent 20 nerve-wracking minutes answering questions and writing statements and making sure everything was in order. I said something self-effacing in Chinese and he contradicted me with a smile and I realized, my heart relaxing for the first time that day, that he was Flirting with me! Then he said I had a pretty signature, but that he couldn't read it. :)

Now the rain has really started and I have to ride my bike home. great. Tomorrow is the U.S. Embassy. Usually the Marine guard is cute, so that's something to look forward to.
wow. it's REALLY pouring. I have to sing tonight. damn.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Earthquake

Just to let everyone know, the earthquake was over 1,000 miles away from Beijing. Some people here felt it, but I did not.

It's actually a gorgeous day today. My thoughts are with the victims and also the people in Burma devastated by the cyclone.

I'm extremely blessed and grateful to be happy and healthy.

Lots of love, Katie