Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Theora in Action

Look at that! That's me speaking Chinese- what I came to Beijng to do! I was probably making a "chu" or "xu" sound.

Last weekend I went out to dinner with two family friends, Bill and Sue, who were in Beijing for the weekend. We went to a wonderful Beijing Duck restaurant- it was delicious and glamorous. Because Bill and Sue don't speak Chinese, I spoke English with them (it's an exception to the language pledge, and oh man it was great to speak English) and then translated with the waitresses and cab drivers which was great fun.

On the topic of things to eat, this is a Mangosteen. Delicious.

The skin is very thick; the outer layer is tough, but the inside layer is very deep red and crumbly. The fruit is very small, white, and has sections like an orange. It is very sweet and mild, the texture is a little like a peach. The last week or so there have been many people selling them on the street off of their motorized bike carts.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

ACC的日常生活 (Daily Life)Part 1

So, now that I've been here over a month, time for basic introductions. Firstly, my school is in Beijing's Chaoyang District (朝阳区)which is north-east of Beijing center. Beijing is made up of several ring roads surrounding the Forbidden City which is the traditional First Ring Road. My school is near the Third Ring Road, so relatively close to the center of Beijing. The subway map above is really confusing because (I think) the top of the map is South and the bottom is North, but anyways, my school is really close to the Dawangqiao station (大望路-我不知道为什么那个地铁图说“大望桥”?)on the Red Line #1. If you want to really have a good time- look me up on Google Earth! If you haven't used it before you'll have to download the program. Then search for Beijing, China, and then "Capital University of Economics and Business" (the school that ACC is housed in). You'll be able to see where I'm staying (the building in the north-east section of the campus), and if you zoom out to the west, you can see the CCTV building, too.

This is the view of our South entrance from outside. The gold characters say Shoudu jingji maoyi daxue (首都经济贸易大学) or CUEB. There are guards on watch 24/7 to let cars in and out and monitor the people walking in and out.

This is inside campus looking at the South gate. On the left are steps going to the library (which I haven't been to- no art books, just economic books in Chinese), and on the right is a small park 公园 which occasionally has a few old people doing their morning calisthenics (my favorite is the clapping and reciting rhythmic sayings. 功课很好玩!
Dis eez the outside of my dorm building- a little glassed in entry way. We have classes and live in this same building, which seemed like an awful idea when I first got here, but it's actually not that bad.
Outside of the building. Everything is dead because it is winter and dirty beause it is Beijing and until last thursday it hadn't rained in 3 months! Today it snowed a little bit too, which means it's cold, but I'm just glad to have some precipitation. A little snow is actually kind of nice (I never thought I'd say that).

This is a car. And also the view of the North gate from inside campus.

Outside the Bei (north) gate looking west. The angular building in the distance is the one that caught on fire a week ago Monday. Apparently they didn't completely put out the fire until Tuesday morning (when I took this picture). The sky was really hazy until the afternoon, and the building was pretty charbroiled-looking.

That same day, a picture from inside our room looking out. Horrible! Our room has a little balcony, which is nice to go out on when you want to take a break from studying.
Ze rrrooom. Katie bought some little New Years delibops, but it still is pretty boring and spare. Unfortunately I did not bring my art studio with me, but I'm hoping in a spare minute I can work some Theora Magic on the walls. hmm. Siena, you know what I mean.

Each room has it's own bathroom, which is great.
Next up, pictures of my homework- another balanced part of daily life at ACC.

Monday, February 9, 2009

photo assortment

Firstly, more photos from 798 taken during my second trip there. Above and below, beautiful courtyard where a tree had been entirely wrapped with red string. This curved concrete bit is actually an entrance to a gallery. Very cool and minimalist.
Haha! Duchamp goes to the chinaware factory.

Yes, Ally, I went here! The coffee shop with a coffee cup filled with (real!) coffee beans for a door. They played American country western music, which seemed a little odd to me.
Another door. For the "weird signs in English" photo album. For some reason the Chinese characters are traditional which are not used in mainland China.

798 is pretty grungy, but that's what makes it so cool. Artists looove the grungy grimy.

Factory which is still being used as such.

Tonight is the last night of celebration of the Chinese New Year (the lantern festival), and also the last night to set off fireworks. Fireworks and firecrackers are readily available during this time of year, and anyone can buy them and set them off, anywhere, anytime. Since loud noises are believed to scare away evil spirits who might be lurking at the start of your new year, it would seem that almost everyone in Beijing participates in this ritual. Although they are beautiful and New Year's Eve at midnight was incredible, after about 3 weeks of constant booming (daytime, too!) I'm really quite ready to have it come to an end. Earlier tonight there was quite the upset in the ACC dorm because we thought that the new CCTV building had caught fire from the fireworks. For a panicked 15 minutes or so we were all leaning out the windows trying to see through the haze and smoke (caused primarily by the fireworks, and only somewhat by the fire). Turns out it was a nearby building instead, and the fire was put out fairly quickly. Still, this is why letting a city of 17 million people set off fireworks at their leisure and discretion is not entirely without risk. The CCTV building is an architectural marvel and was only recently finished. It looks like this: (there is a current name-the-building debate going on, and the vast majority of Beijingers are already referring to it as "The Big Underpants")

These are Longgan- a fruit I'd never seen before coming to China. Since I'm all about rare/ unusual fruit I was really excited when my roomate brought these home. On the inside they are sweet and translucent like a grape but have a pit like a cherry. A little obnoxious to eat but it's worth it.

Time for shower and review the characters one more time and then sleep.