my ‘hood.

Posted by anya on July 23rd, 2007 filed in Uncategorized

So, while I am here at work, and still want to waste a little time before continuing to work on one of my projects, I want to tell you about my neighborhood in Beijing. I live in a very Chinese part of town. As in… not in a fancy apartment complex targeted at expats, but on a street that’s just about as typical as it gets. I am on the 19th floor of a shabby building, and my apartment can pretty much be described as ‘grimey’. There is nothing impressive about anything in my apartment, but I honestly love living here. The street below bustles with activity almost 24 hours a day. You can find just about anything you need in a one-block radius. I’ve gotten used to my favorite fruit vendors, my shoe-repair guy, my Korean-cabbage-girl, and to the couple who make amazing meat-filled breads for 3 kuai. If you go down the back alley, a whole sea of tiny restaurants opens up. There are tons of street-food places, selling myriad things, most of which I am not familiar with, but am slowly getting to know. There are 2.5 kuai bottles of Yanjing beer, jiao zi (dumplings), and chuan’r of all different varieties. My latest favorite is ‘ma la tang’, which is a type of soup. Basically, you go around and pick whichever vegetable ingredients you want to go into your soup. Then, you give it to the cook, who makes a delicious soup of the ingredients in a spicy broth. Also, when I don’t have time to eat before going out, I usually grab a couple of 0.5 mao (1/2 kuai) bread patties, which come in both sweet and sour varieties and are amazing. Incentives to cook really disappear here because ready-made food is so cheap and delicious! I love that I can buy pretty much anything I need without having to take the bus. This neighborhood is amazing! The only downside is that cab rides home from nights out regularly average 25 kuai. But… I am here and it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so I’m just going to go ahead and enjoy it. Beijing really is magical. I could walk around the hutongs surrounding Gulou Dajie for hours! There is so much I still haven’t seen in this city, and I’m becoming increasingly aware of how quickly time is running out for me here. I haven’t been in a place that’s this full of life in ages. I am constantly inspired by what I see and live, in a way that I haven’t been in Vancouver. The nightlife here has a totally different feel than Vancouver’s. There are wonderful places with diverse crowds and a constant slew of interesting conversations. I can see why people come here on short contracts and end up staying for years. I’m not sure whether I feel like ‘myself’ here, but I know that I just feel like this is right for this time in my life. Sigh… Beijing.


6 Responses to “my ‘hood.”

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