Last night we enjoyed a celebratory dinner commemorating the four year anniversary of the hiking group. Morgan, our fearless team leader, organized a lovely dinner in a private room at a fancy Chinese restaurant. Everyone (all 32 of us) in attendance brought a bottle of wine to share with the group as we toasted each other for every little thing. The people in my hiking group make my world in China wonderful. I can not say enough about how lovely everyone is to me.
Because of the special dinner, the hike did not occur. For my Saturday exercise I ventured north on my bicycle. My bicycle adventure began before 8am. Using the rising sun as a guide I headed north and kept the sun on my right. Eventually I arrived at my destination – an enormous shopping mall north of the 5th ring road. Nobody in Beijing wears a bike helmet. I now wear a helmet. I purchased my new head gear at the huge sporting goods store in the basement of the gigantic shopping mall. I’ll take photos next time to show the size. McDonalds, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Starbucks, Pizza Hut, and many other places sell to the masses at this mall. I enjoyed an 18rmb serving of iced tea in Starbucks before heading back home.
One ATM at this mall has a line 20 people deep at times. All I can say is, “WOW,” when thinking about and seeing the volume of people around this shopping area. The parking lot at a mall in Austin overflows on the Friday after Thanksgiving. This mall in north Beijing overflows with cars, bicycles, and people every single day of the year. Again…. photos to follow.
My ride back home included a pedal repair/ replacement and chain tightening as well as lunch at some random local restaurant. Mediocre food happens and this meal earned a “mediocre” rating. I dined on lamb meat pieces mixed with small chunks of bread as well as my favorite green beans with some wonderful spices.
After much thought I believe that my 100 rmb fake money (both of them) came out of an ATM. The taxi driver refused to take the bills from me and then made change for a real 100 rmb note. The 50rmb note I received as change turned out to be fake also. Inside of the bar I studied the fake bills and noticed that the serial number was the same. Wow! I will now be that paranoid person just like everyone who takes moey from me. Up until last night I always found it humorous that they eyeball every 50 rmb and 100 rbm note. I now have firsthand knowledge of why they do it. The fakes do not have the watermark inside of them. The watermark is printed lightly on the front of the bill.
Today’s schedule does not include a nap and several hours of rest like the schedule from the last several days. I fell ill with a nasty infection in my chest that created yellow and green phlem at times. I ran through a five day supply of antibiotics, as well as plenty of vitamin C, hot tea, hot water, fruits, vegetables, and soup. The entire illness set me back a solid six days. It beat me up so badly that I skipped Mandarin lesson Friday and even hiking on Saturday.
Many things amuse me in China. One particular amusing scene that repeats itself hundreds of times daily is the hawk and spit. Heck, I partake regularly. The phrase, “When in China….” I am here so I hawk and spit like the best of them. I have almost gotten spit on more than once and I am certain that, because of wind, I may have received a bit of it at least once. Typically I look out where I am spitting.
Riding home from Mandarin lesson today I proceeded to cough up some chunky stuff and spit it out as I pedaled home. I watched out (I thought) so as not to hit anyone. After coughing up a nice chunk I let it loose and then I heard the “SMACK” and saw the moped zoom by me. Woops! I splattered the guy’s moped smack dab in the front.