Jake’s Day of Salt and Sweat

Fun thing I haven’t done in a while, stayed up to see the sunrise.  Last night after finding out I didn’t make the individual comp and would be leaving soon, I went out to the bars with some of the other competitors.  Normally not my scene, but so very glad I did it. Why? When I went into the room where people were debating where to go, one of the Italians on team Europe asked the Russian guy next to me (in Russian), “where’s this guy from?” (I haven’t done much socializing outside my team). To which the Russian responded, “from the USA.” To which I responded, “yeah, I’m an American.” Still in Russian.  The Russian guy Lyosha kind of lost his shit.  Apparently he’s never met an American who spoke passable Russian (which is kind of an overstatement with me) and through a combination of admiration and pity he proceeded to speak with me in Russian for the vast majority of the night while teaching me a bunch of slang (ranging from the colloquial to the downright filthy). Came back at 4 in time to see the sky lightening and fell asleep.

Fitting as I started the night with a Russian beer I picked up a couple days ago.  Sweet and light despite being an 8% lager.

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Went out just before lunch to try and get my computer screen fixed, which thanks to an out of date address had me walking in the wrong direction for about an hour in the sweltering heat.  I ended up finding the place and paying about $75 for a new screen, and in celebration decided to have some fun my going to one of my other favorite places in the city.  Another fun adventure in Chinese I’ve never had before.

Situated directly behind the Forbidden City is Jingshan park. They built it with all of the left over dirt from constructing the forbidden city and is the only hill in Beijing. Literally.  Anyway, as a result, on a clear day is gives you a beautiful sprawling view of north Beijing and the Forbidden City, which helps you get an idea for how absolutely mindbogglingly massive the place is, easy to miss while you’re inside it.  Also there for your entertainment are various choirs of senior citizens singing very professionally accompanied by accordion, with other groups playing Chinese hackysack, singing kuai bar, or just sitting enjoying the scenery.  And all this for two RMB!  Another absolute must if you’re ever in the city.

Ended the day with some dumplings from yet another favorite place (trying to hit them all while I’m here I guess hehe) Baoyuan dumpling restaurant. What makes them so special? Check it out for yourself.

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The fillings are a combination of lotus root, pepper, minced pork, tofu, eggplant, and some other stuff I forgot. Doesn’t matter, they kick ass hot or cold.  And worth the hour and a half detour I had to take.  My departure has been delayed a bit, so more time to blog I guess!  And more time to spend money I shouldn’t be spending.

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