It’s 1:10am and I just got back home from the Capital Spirits Bar which is across the street from where I live with my new friend Catrin (who lives across the street from me)….who I met in the Dongzhimen subway station about 6 days ago when I was lost in Beijing. hahah it’s funny how things work out like this. The foreigners definately stick together when they’re in a country like China. Please excuse the profanity as I am actually 1000% drunk right now as I type this but I thought it is necessary to get my thoughts out to the world.
Some thoughts of mine on China:
– It’s really different. Like, really different. I mean, I knew that coming in but doing even the simplest thing like… what? opening a bank account takes seemingly forever (I will elaborate more on this later)
– You will live without VPN. I actually got my VPN to work most of the week but then the G20 was happening and then it all went to shits. I had a mild panic attack but remembered I downloaded Baidu Maps which is the Chinese equivalent to Google Maps. It also forces me to read in Chinese which is also a plus (or a minus… since it takes more time for me to read characters…) In any case, I have a map on my phone which is all-in-all, a plus.
– As a Chinese-Canadian studying “Chinese” in China – there is a different standard. Everything that I studied in Vancouver in preparation for this trip is seemingly not enough. My teacher is extremely hard on me and places me on a different pedestal since I have a Chinese background and often gives me a hard time that I haven’t learnt/have forgotten certain basic characters. Oh well though, it just means I have to prove myself more (study more) which is fine by me.
– People work really long hours. My roommates are out of the apartment by 7am (for the guy roommate who doesnt speak English.. I will just name him Bob) and 8-8:30am for Jieyun (my girl roommate who speaks English and is also extremely chill!!!!) Our apartment is literally our rooms which is tiny, a shared washroom and a shared kitchen. Nobody cooks because its so cheap to eat out. Plus, theres a 7/11 and McD literally a stone throw away.
– It’s full of opportunities if you look in the right place. I’m still looking for the right place but I’ve put my feelers out on thebeijinger.com which is the West’s equivalent to Craigslist. Plus, my private Chinese school is looking to break into the “teach English to young Chinese school kids” market. So, they’re looking to hire some English teachers
– Pollution – it is a real thing. Coming from beautiful BC, you take fresh air for granted. On bad smoggy days in Beijing, it’s fucked. I feel like every full breath is equivalent to half a breath
– Traffic – is insane. If I were a parent teaching a child to cross the road, I would literally tell them to cross the road without dying (ex: being hit). In China, there are no rules.
– Transportation – Okay. I thought London was big and insane. Beijing is even more insane. People. Everywhere. All the time. AHHHHHHHHHHHH thank goodness I blend in and people dont try to fuck with me as much as they do with foreigners (people who arent Asian looking).
I have given in and have gone to Western joints like McDs and a few microbreweries in Beijing:
1. 京-A in Sanlitun: I went here last weekend with my roommate Jieyun. It was awesome. It felt like I was back at home and their beers were delicious at a price of 35-40Y Yuan ($5-8) per pint. We had sweet potato fries with this great sauce and spent the evening there.
2. Great Leap Brewerey in Sanlitun – I went here today with Catrin, the girl I met on the subway and is doing an internship in Beijing. Oh my gaaaad. We had the Imperial Honey Ma IPA and it takes like a light Honey Lager. Again, another popular joint for foreigners. They played western music and had a western vibe and felt very much like home. It was a great breath of fresh air. Probably spent 75Yuan ($15) for a pint of beer and burger.
3. Capitol Spirits Bar in Dongzhimen – Catrin actually had to drop some stuff off here on behalf of her PR agency. Funny enough it is actually hidden in the Hutongs of Dongzhimen (right across the main street from where we live which is less than a 5 minute walk). There is no sign outside and the entrance is hidden (if you know me, I love these friggin places!) It was tiny!! Probably only fit 15-20 people max and it was bumping by the time we left around midnight or so. They are known for making 白酒 “baijiu” which is rice wine that is around 32 – 54% alcohol content. I mean, fuck. They pour baijiu in these tiny ass shotglasses? fit for an ant. We got probably 4 small sips from each glass. Holy shitballs. I got #WGW (white girl wasted). We both got a cocktail after finishing our small 5 glass baijiu tasting. Honestly, just smelling this stuff is deadly. It doesn’t taste like vodka or like soju (korean rice wine)… but some tasted like tequila, some tasted like tequila with a fucking chili pepper cause it was spicy AF, some tasted like a flower / burnt plastic? whatever the fuck that tasted like… and the last one just killed me and I was legitimately donezo.
Anyways, I have to head out back to my school Chinese Hutong School tomorrow since I’ll be watching one of the owners teach English to students. It’ll be fun – I’ll meet up with Catrin, Annie and Jieyun for the afternoon as well. We’ll see what happens.
Beijing isn’t as bad as I thought! I just want to make more Chinese friends! Chinese friends where you attttttt!?! Also, I want a decent paying job! Is that too much to ask for?! hahah