The other morning at work we had a long meeting discussing things I’d rather not write (let alone think) about, and towards the end of it, approaching 11am, someone said, “Let’s get lunch from McDonald’s.” Everyone in the room except me (nearly all of them Americans) thought that was a great idea. A bit later, BG came around with a notepad taking orders, and I passed. “I’ll get some noodles or something,” I said. I ended up walking a couple blocks with a Chinese coworker to get some baozi (steamed buns stuffed with various fillings). When other Chinese staff members found out where we were going, they all put in requests, and we ended up getting twenty or so. The only problem with that is that from the outside, all baozi look pretty much the same, so I’m not sure everyone ended up with what they wanted. I certainly didn’t, but it was no big deal – they were all good. I suppose that from a nutritional standpoint, a steamed wad of bread stuffed with meat, vegetables and sauce is not that different from a burger, especially considering that the meat in baozi tends to be on the fatty side. But if I wanted to eat at McDonald’s (which I generally don’t), I didn’t need to come to Beijing to do it. I came to China to experience new things, and Maidanlao (as they call it here) is not new to me. I must admit there are sometimes days when a burger (or pizza) really seems like the thing to hit the spot, so as an alternative there’s a place called The Vineyard that makes a pretty incredible one, and has really good fries too. The only time I go to Maidanlao is if I like the Happy Meal toys, like the Hello Kitty ones I got a couple weeks ago.
This is a little flower shop I frequently pass on my way to the grocery store.
And this is a rather old-looking cat that seems to live in Nanguan Park. I’ve seen one or two others running around in there.
A few random pictures from around Beijing:
Plant vendors on three-wheelers are pretty common, as are sidewalk real estate agents.
Beijingers love their xigua. Watermelons are everywhere, in shops, on bicycles, and on trucks.
Last night I got home from work around 8pm, and when I walked onto the Seasons Park grounds, I could tell something was different. There was a performance of some kind taking place at the little amphitheater in the courtyard. You might remember seeing it (empty) in some of my previous pictures.
Whatever the show was, it was sponsored by Tsingtao Beer, and involved dancing and audience participation. The dancers brought people on the stage and taught them some traditional dance moves.
I needed to get to the grocery store before it closed, so I couldn’t hang around and watch. At one point the lights were flashing different colors and U2 played on the sound system. I had been wondering if the amphitheater was ever used for anything other than kids to kick soccer balls against.
And here’s my parting shot:
This is the sign outside a building I pass on my way to work. I had walked past it for weeks before I noticed what it said.