Breakfast Letter Wo hui Beijing October 1, 2015


1985 Art, Downtown Los Angeles 1985 Art Sept. 12, 2012.

Front street Dunsmuir became downtown Los Angeles in 1985 at the SAM reception for Cheryl West Petty art from that period.  If you missed the event, tour the reception gallery here at

Curious about the scene?  When did it erupt and is it still fomenting art today?  A brief summary of the “heartbeat of global art” here.  Can you spot Bruce in the background, my publicist taking pictures?  

My darling son came up to see the show.  He remembers some of the pieces and is a subject of the painting Boy in blue/TransAm.


The voyage begins...

I’m staying at the Saga Youth Hostel which is in the middle of Shijia Hutong.  A small one-way lane passes in front with parking on one side and barely enough room to pass on the left.  It is patronized by foreign and Chinese young people—German, Australian, Indian, Canadian, Israel, Norway and a few Americans.  The quaint, older 80s building has three floors and no elevator.

My trip began at Redding Airport on October 1 and ended at Beijing Capital Airport on October 2, crossing the International Date Line.  The non-stop flight from SFO was only eleven hours. 

For breakfast I have museli (granola), yogurt, fruit (kiwi, apple and pear) and hong cha hui nai he tang (tea with milk and sugar) for 31Y or $4.86. 

“They” are in my internet already.  It is slightly functional now, and I am ecstatic that I can get into the Squarespace site and work on the blog.  Mail Chimp is:  Error 409 Forbidden.  My Gmail and Outlook is blocked on my notebook.  The Kindle is useless except for reading books already downloaded.  Frequently I will experience something called a network communication error: Try again later !! Unable to access the server.


China Mobile

After breakfast, I walked to a China Mobile office and got established with a new Beijing phone number and put $$ onto the account.  Here in China, mobile communications are very convenient, hen shu fu.  The number is free and all you pay for is the minutes used.  When you need more minutes you add them.  You can buy minutes on a card at oddball kiosks here and there, also.  Now I can use the Chinese WeChat which is a free messaging service for text and audio messaging..  Although my notebook is in lockdown, my phone runs on a different system.  After two days, 20 email messages came through on it.  Now I get a few messages in wide intervals.  As long as I don’t try to send too many messages at a time and clog the pipeline which has to pass through the firewall filters, I am back in business.

Mike Zhang and his wife Jane picked me up from in front of China Mobile.  You may recall, I met them a couple years ago at the CAFIC conference in Hainan.  He has since become the Chinese editor for the American in Beijing series. 

We went shopping and had lunch on Wangfuxing Street, chrysanthemum tea jiu hua cha, boned fish jiang tuan yu, mapo doufu, eggplant qiezi, lotus root lianou in sweet and sour sauce, cold rice noodles liangfen with peanut sauce and sliced cucumber and rice mifan.  Mike explained that his home town in Sichwan, Dujiangyan, is famous for producing kiwi with red center, mihou tao.

The meat market

Jane is enthusiastic about her dinner.

Fresh fruit and vegetables at the market

We drove to his home in the Cishousi neighborhood west of downtown.  Mike and I got a massage, anmo, in the mini-mall near his apartment building, returned to his home for a simple, wholesome dinner prepared by Jane.  Supper was porridge xifan with yam, burdock root and chickpea, side dishes of chopped fennel huixiang, celery with beef slivers qincai niurou, tomato fangie, and sour string beans suan jiangdou.  After dinner I watched television with them, a serial from the Imperial days, and trundled home on the subway to my cozy hostel.

Award winning apples

The owners of the shop with Chery

These premium apples are packaged in gift boxes.  Jane and Mike bought two boxes and gave me a couple to take home, delicious!

A large police station, Public Security Bureau or PSB, is next to the hostel.  I feel very safe.

Someone who knows about motorcycles, tell me what this is?

Mike and I are standing in fromt of his workplace, Commercial Press, the oldest publishing house in China, older than the revolution.

Very few homeless persons, but you can see them occasionally, bu hui jia.

Here's a shot of my bathroom at the Saga Youth Hostel.

This 300 year old middle school is around the corner from my hostel.

You can see the variety of massage available.  To roughly calculate the price conversion to dollars, divide by 6.  Very reasonable.

A hutong resident with her needlepoint hobby.

Tomorrow I fly to Pyongyang, DPRK.  You'll be hearing from me again next week when I return to Beijing.  Until then, Yi huir jian!