Post # 110 Beijing

Day 125 606 days to go. Distance: today ‘who cares’ total ‘allot’ its 1.05pm Tuesday 3/4/2012 Xicheng District, Beijing.

We actually arrived late yesterday but I only got as far as ‘Day 124 607 days to go. Distance: today 109km total 8032km. It’s 8.00pm Monday 2/4/12 Beijing’  then The folks emailed to say they were good for a Skype. We had the best chats until they turned into two cute pumpkins and had to go to bed. Then I met and got into chatting with my room-mate for the next few days, Helena from Sweden. By the way……… …..

How good is that!!!!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 Miss J, Blue Dog, Rube and I are out on this beautiful Peking day. It’s actually the first of three public holidays. So where I thought I’d be applying for a Mongolian visa right about now, we’re all out for the day in Xicheng district perfect. This is the district where the family and I are staying, at a hotel called Beijing templeside hutong house at No. 8 An Ping Alley. The manager ‘Bobby’ said to go there when i arrived in Beijing and he would find me somewhere nearby to stay until the 5th. However when I got there bobby told me a houseguest Helena had offered me her twin bed – it’s so great yayayaya !!!!! Helena is such an interesting woman She studied in china back in the late eighties and now teaches mandarin at a local university. she regularly visits china to keep in touch with the culture and is a good friend of bobby. Helena is doing her doctorate on chinese women issues over the last three decades.

She said the change in china and it’s folk over that period is mind-blowing. For example finding people prepared to be interviewed was so hard and nowadays people are more likely to speak out as long as they are in a safe space. Woman used to readily blame themselves for acts of discrimination. Now they are more likely to see the underlying cultural and political causes and prefer like most chinese a republic that is freeing up. It’s a relative thing so perspective is needed. For example its by no means on the path to democracy just quite yet 🙂 There’s apparently very sensitive sub division in the Chinese Communist Party re leadership direction (traditional vs. progressive). As you know freedom to comment on some issues including the government is still restricted in china as are the forums which encourage comments like blog sites.  As of today Chinese Twitter has been closed to comments.

I also asked Helena about the woman’s suicide rate. She said that two groups of woman are at risk. One are those who have been exposed to urban opportunities then move to live a rural family life that does not meet their needs. The other are rural mothers left at home to care for both extended families, the children and the farm while the patriarch lives in the city where work opportunities are. Simply the women can’t cope with the onerous responsibilities. We also spoke about the ‘foreign diplomat ‘ restrictions of some hotels. Helena said that hotels are registered to a standard and only above a certain standard are allowed to have tourists stay. In other words I have been very very very lucky to have had the opportunities and experiences I have had.

 I loved sharing the Truckee  stories with her and could hear how much happiness these simple experiences have given me. I haven’t spoken to anyone about this stuff for the last six weeks and it was really cool. It was also really funny listening to myself take the edge off my enthusiasm to keep a bit of social etiquette. I’m so socially unsound it cracks me up. That’s a mission over the next days to interact myself back to some sort of social sanity for the family. I can see my partner ear to ear with a good luck grin x the park here is beautiful and reminds me allot of the English garden in Munich. It has a chinese tower so maybe they were inspired by parks like this in their design. The exception is everyone has their clothes on.

On a day like today there would be lots of nudey rudey’s having their lunch break in Munich, sunny side up on the grass,with their work attire folded neatly beside them. But otherwise folk are out in numbers enjoying the lake and park very cool. There’s an inside ledge on the fencing around the lake where I have found a perfect possie in the sun. I can’t understand why folk aren’t enjoying the same except for the occasional fisherman. No complaints but. Its great to be removed from the crowds but still amongst the atmosphere. The district is very much an old town as you would expect Peking to be like with narrow alleys and traditional architecture. 
Of course there’s the modern but understated and in keeping with the local feel. It’s a great spot my partner found on the Internet for us. Well done my love!!!!

On our way here and back I’ve kept out direction very simple as I’m a bit vague but am taking side trips down the intriguing alleys begging to be explored. They are full of local traders, food vendors and markets. I love this atmosphere for exploring but not getting lost. I don’t want to do lost today. So that’s going to be prettying much me over the next days and I’ll do my visa on the 5th when all the shops are open again. Forced down time. How incredibly perfect. I also want to enjoy more of the company at the hotel. Theres this family from the States working in Shanghai and holidaying in Beijing. About 7 months ago she was offered a contract at a private school working special Ed. Melissa has already introduced a knitting squares program that the whole school has embraced boys and girls.

Basically they knit squares that are sent to Africa and made into blankets for children with AIDS. Her husband Michael is the stay home dad and their three-year old Lucus gets free day care and schooling as part of her contract. What an amazing opportunity for an amazing woman and her family. Speaking of amazing. I haven’t even told you about yesterday yet. I packed Rube up with clear intent to cycle through to Beijing. We’ve clicked over 8000km and with 80km to go Rube gets her first flat tyre. So I sorted the flat while the fella from the hotel found the puncture and time for a picky with the Ateam. We got the momentum going early and did a huge wod of kms before a lunch. We stopped at a roadside market at the smell of roasting baked sweet potato. Yummy yum!!!! Hot and soft and delis and I peeled it and ate it like a banana. With a head and belly full of calories again we headed off for our last 25 km. The map popped out of the bungee and I stopped to pick it up.

When I got back to rune a cyclist had stopped and was checking her out. He wanted to ask me a few questions and invite us to ride with him into Beijing. So he called a friend who translated and soon were under way following someone who actually knew where they were going. Thank goodness like really… Thank frigging goodness. If you have been to Beijing you will appreciate the size and sprawl of this most populous city in the most populous country in the world. He was able to cycle us into the 3rd ring metropolitan area. From there we asked a handful of locals for their helping hand and at 5pm arrived at Templeside to stay with Helena for a few days. The alleyways in the district are a network of rabbit warrens and bobby sent a worker out to the main road to meet and take us back through the maze to the hotel . The coffee whilst sending the spot message yesterday tasted extra good. We’ve done good and it’s time now to turn that part of the brain off for a bit and enjoy a different perspective with family. We’re very happy.  Talk soon x

Published by shecyclesolo

"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you've imagined.' H D Thoreau

3 thoughts on “Post # 110 Beijing

  1. Congrats maree, loved reading this post …try not to get lost while family is there….or maybe u should so they can share the experience..hehee ….family was in today there sooo excited ,and there chests puffed up with so much love and pride …we still mention ur name everyday …wondering what u are doing at this moment ..eating…squatting…talking…singing…hehee soo funny …bid hugs are comming your way ….I hope the days go very slow in Beijing xo

  2. …and don’t you sound happy, and so you should be. Can’t believe your luck, being escorted into Beijing! Helena sounds so interesting with all this background info. Enjoy time off the saddel and immerse yourself in the flavours and colours of Beijing with mum and dad. Love from us XXX

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