Thursday, May 24, 2007


Usually near the subway stops there are street vendors selling animals... kitties, puppies, turtles, snakes and the occasion piglet. Every Chinese person I have met has told me not to buy one of these animals because the majority of the time they're very sick. I've heard countless stories of people buying animals from the street and within weeks the little creatures die.
Last weekend, Ross, Masa and I were walking after lunch and saw a crate full of kittens. We had talked about maybe aquiring one of these little beasts. It's nice to have an animal walking around the house. So, that's how we got 澄汁(chengzhi).

Sad, to say that Chengzhi didn't make it a week. He got really sick a few days ago. We took him to ... a woman by our house who owns a petshop... she's not a doctor, but she's had a lot of animals. After a 5 minute language barriered conversation about the word 'dissolve', we bought some medicine and began treating this 小东西。 He just got weaker and weaker. Yesterday, Ross and I came home to a meloncholy roommate and a dead kitty. Saul saw this little thing die. We took 澄汁to a little piece of land that borders 东王庄and buried him. It was strange to have a little friend like that for such a short period.

小澄汁猫。。。 poor tiny thing.

Sunday, May 6, 2007


There are 7 green friends on the balcony and all of them are either wilting away or have been chopped to stubby stubs, except for the desert rose. I'll keep you updated on my favorite, she grows magenta buds which bloom purple, but she's very fickle. I think she's getting too much sun.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

nearing 3 months...

Yesterday, Ross and I went to 司马台长城 (Simitai Great Wall) and 金山岭长城(JinShanLing Great Wall). We woke up early, dragged ourselves to the subway station, caught the train to 东直门 (Dong Zhi Men), took the 980 bus which smelled of old shoes and had a bus driver who loved to tap that break, until we reached a suburb of 北京(Beijing) called 密云(Miyun). We were reminded to get off the bus by a nice bus worker who lead us to a few men who offered to take us to the great wall. We were able to knock 30kuai off this one seedy man's original price- he then lead us to his small toyota-like car and off we went. Getting off the car at 司马台, I realized how incredibly hot it was. We began climbing/walking/stepping-up the wall at around the hottest time of the day, for some reason...? Maybe we wanted it to be more of a challenge?

Alright, so the wall is not in any way easy. It is probably the hardest hike I have ever done in my life. I can't think of anything more physically demanding except maybe swimming under the water for long periods of time handling langosta. Anyway, it's unbelievably hard.

The millions of tourists and castle-shaped trashcans made this part of the wall feel like Disney, so we decided to walk until there were no people and sleep on the wall if the sun set before we reached a town. Ross and I planned to walk to a completely different part of the wall called JinShanLing (金山岭), but realized one hour into the hike that we were walking the wrong way. hah! So, we started back- my god, is it easier to go down those steps (except for the heightened possibility that you might tumble to your death)! So, we took around 30 minutes to get back to where we started. On the way down we saw a path to a tiny village between the mountains which we decided to visit. We crossed the scary bridge of death after handing over some money to a guy tending the bridge who gave us pretty tickets, which were never checked.
When we reached the path, there was a sign saying 'dangerous, no crossing', but after explaining to a guard that we wanted to maybe sleep in that nearby village he told us to go ahead. The hike was incredibly fun, better than the great wall. We were walking through what seemed to once be a stream... finally we reached an old village where we met an old woman which reminded Ross of his Grandma. After asking her if we could stay at her house, she laughed at us and said there was no food and walked us to a neighboring tiny village of sorts where we met another old woman who told us she had too many people staying at her house. The first older woman kept telling the second woman to charge us 100kuai (to rip us off)... we told them it was way too expensive and then starred at them awkwardly for a while before saying thank you and leaving.

We kept walking down that path and quickly realized that the path was following the great wall. The path finally met up with the great wall, this part very far from the first part of the wall we were on. We had reached 金山岭... it is the most incredibly beautiful thing... In this part of the wall there are hardly any people and few castle shaped trashcans. We saw three guys walking in the opposite way and then a couple about an hour later. Most of 金山岭is not restored and so makes the walk somewhat dangerous, which makes the experience better for some reason.
It felt like I was walking through some sort of Lego 'the orient series' construction that my brother put together when he was younger. I wish I could have stayed there over night with ross reading Lolita and eating our spoiled tuna fish with crackers, but we live in a desert and deserts get unbearable cold at night. We finally saw the town and found a steep path which we slid down most of the way. About 20 minutes before the sun set we arrived tired and smelly to 金山岭. We washed up, ate like savages, drank beer and paid 20kuai to sleep on wooden beds which were really comfortable. Before we went to sleep, Ross read some Lolita to me which worked out perfectly 'cause i like being read to and he loves hearing his own voice.

The next morning we took some strange motorcycle carriage thing to the bus stop and then took a bus to Beijing.
It was my first time outside of 北京. I feel a tiny bit more Chinese. ><

Ross has some more pictures here.