Walking around the Sanlitun neighborhood with my language teacher WuDan, she showed me an imported food market called April's Gourmet. They have four stores in Chaoyang district. It's just like a little old fashioned Trader Joes! gorgeous cheeses, big (for China) wine selection, lot's of familiar brands in every category, some Halloween costumes for theMeiguoren (American) children, olives!!!, pasta, spaghetti sauce, kettle potato ships, flowers, deli case, fresh fruit and veggies, pumpernickel bread, etc, etc.http://www.thebeijinger.com/directory/April-Gourmethttp://travel.nytimes.com/travel/guides/asia/china/beijing/33498/april-gourmet/shopping-detail.html Before getting on the subway Dr Monica and I ducked into the Ginza mall basement for a delectable Chinese pastry with cappuccino only 16K $2.52.
We're waiting for the heat to be turned on. There are steam heat radiators in every room, including the shower, in every building in Beijing. I've been running my Kaopian air conditioner/heater in the spare bedroom day and night to keep the temperature around 64-68-degrees.
I've noticed a definite change in the internet this past week, and I've corroborated this with others at work and my friends. "They" DAGE Big Brother Firewall, whatever you want to call it/them, have been tightening the filters especially on news sites. You can get to the home page but every story is blocked. Yesterday I couldn't get to a cooking site for dumplings! The dictionary and the Thesaurus sites are now displaying homepage, if at all, without CSS, just text no graphics, and the word search links are dead. The SacBee which usually works when Google News won't is totally blocked. Also NY Times, LA Times. Yahoo News is still working.
On the morning of October 30 I went shopping early toHualian Shangchang to get some American breakfast cereal for Bruce, my husband, who arrives tomorrow afternoon for a visit! At the warmest part of the day I packed up my oil paint gear and pedaled to an avenue of trees I've painted huahua near the SW gate. For about an hour and half I played with my oils, something I haven't done since summer. I finally realized I was freezing. I added the last touches, a little smear for a suggestion of a person walking and more Renoiresque brushy dabs in the foreground suggesting grass and leaves, then packed up and biked home to get warm.
November 6 the afternoon sun hits the top windows in the apartments near mine, reflecting warmly on the wall over the big Chinese table. Gradually the poplar leaves turn yellow to golden brown, dropping into the hutong lanes where the residents sweep them into piles. Bruce and I visited a coal fired heating plant on campus.
On the way to the apartment we saw children painting a mural at their school.
Suddenly vans are showing up on every corner stuffed with Chinese cabbages for sale.
Miniature mandarin oranges are for sale everywhere, sweet and seedless. We stopped for coffee and a brownie at Scholar's Coffee shop.
Next we stop to pay on my bill at Yingzi the tailor's. I found a skirt and jacket I had to have.
We picked up some pastries and egg tart dan tat for breakfast at Tous les Jours bakery, had Mexican dinner at the Avocado Tree and home!
Saturday Eunice came to the apartment in the morning to help shop for Bruce's welcome party. She brought a giant magnum of Changyu champagne, yum! We got tea eggs, shrimp, water chestnuts, peas, lots of miscellaneous stuff like paper plates and chopsticks. Menu: 2 kinds of ramen fang bien miensalad, pan fried wonton with two flavors dipping vinegar, sliced tea eggs http://appetiteforchina.com/recipes/chinese-tea-eggs/ on pea sprouts. Li arrived in the afternoon to help, bringing several bottles of Belgium beer and Mexican smokey cheese we served sliced with crumbly Chinese biscuits. The guests started arriving at 6pm and soon the rooms were filled with chattering conversations in Chinese and English.
Bruce says its easy to get around by subway and bicycle and everyone looks fit and trim from all the walking and biking they do. Bruce's body adjusted to the rental mountain bike. He says the city is clean and everybody is busy doing something. It's crowded at times, no homeless people he could see camped on the street.
He got a tour of a power/heating plant near the university. He says its not that old, running on Chinese built machinery modeled on American technology from 1920's. They will be transitioning to natural gas from coal in a year or two. Neat plant, was great being able to get in. They found a young woman who spoke English who translated for him as they walked him around the place. It supplies hot water for passive heat system to several high tech business enterprises (institutes and a key laboratory) from three giant water boiler units approx 25-feet wide by 40-feet long and 40-feet high.
He says the food is good, found a bakery close to the apartment where he can get pastries for breakfast. Found McDonald's and got a double burger on his own in Wudaokou while taking pictures at the train crossing. Wudaokou means 'five rail crossings.' Bruce is not interested in the usual tourist hot spots like the Great Wall but is obsessed with photographing every smoke stack he sees and there are plenty in Beijing!
Hui tou jian