A Bit Early

So early post before I head out.  I’m boarding a 34 hour train to Xi’an on Saturday (armed with a trusty book or two) to see a couple of friends, Helen and Pabs.  We’re gonna go see a couple cities one province over, then I’ll probably kick around Xi’an for a day to two to see people, then swing through Beijing and Shenyang on my way home.

This week was quite uneventful, made some progress on my article (singular now, but have a draft of the one that didn’t get picked up already so look for that here in the near future), and did some adventuring around Daowai, which I’ve talked about before.  Basically just took some more pictures, armed with Hannah’s book that told us what all the buildings actually used to be.  We also had shaomai which are yet another variety of steamed dumpling, filled exclusively with meat that look like this.  You most often find them in Muslim restaurants, of which this was one.  These were absolutely delicious, with some spicy-ass mustard to pair.

Notable from the trip was one of Harbin’s old opium dens, no longer in operation.

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It’s located on this street which seems to have been condemned sadly, see how it looked this week and as recently as a couple months ago.  Admittedly a lot of the buildings are probably super unsafe, but it does make me sad.  Daowai was and remains a pretty poor neighborhood, so I guess it doesn’t get the preservation treatment that Central Street does despite it’s huge amount of classic architecture.

Aside from that, skated, tried again unsuccessfully to swim, cleaned the apartment, got a haircut, and learned what, “Come over for a beer” means to Northeastern Chinese.  It means get drunker than you’ve been in months for the sake of politeness.  Thankfully my bed was literally twenty feet away and I was perfectly fine the next morning after drinking with the cafe owner and five of his buddies.  The toxic masculinity of the environment did kind of get to me, as the wife was present (she let me into the cafe), but I didn’t see her for the first 90 minutes I was there.  She was just hiding while her husband and his dudes were having a loud raucous time.  Just kind of bothered me as a reminder of how separated the sexes are here still sometimes. Here’s some pictures, and stay tuned for my New Year’s post.

 

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