I look up to see a tall and handsome conductor sternly saying something to me and implacably shooing me and all the passengers in the car out onto the platform and up the stairs to the exits. I emerge into the dark somewhere I don't know where I am. I beat past the illegal cab drivers looking for a legitimate one.Read More
At the moment my plane is landing at Beijing Capitol Airport PEK in the late afternoon, the smoggy haze begins lifting. Feng and her husband SUN Libin find me in the Korean restaurant in the recreation building opposite my wing, the only place open at this late hour of 8pm for me to eat. We exchange gifts. They have brought me a ceramic bottle of Korean miijiu, 51% alcohol. Whoa baby! Back in my room we open it and have a little welcome home party. It feels great to be back in the big city and seeing my friends again. J
Out the window on my first morning in Beijing, I see it is clear and breezy. A magpie greets me, against the pale blue morning sky, standing on the roof of the adjacent building in the courtyard of the Xijiao Hotel complex. This hotel is affiliated with Tsinghua and is located off campus in Wudaokuo, very convenient. In Beijing today 42F / 25F and clear or 5C / -4C. In Dunsmuir, it’s also clear 32F / 17F or 0C / -8C.
After meeting Eunice WU for breakfast in the big dining room in the main building, I ride to campus and meet TONG Pei at the East Gate. She rides me sidesaddle on the back of her bicycle to the center of campus where I rent a bicycle for the three weeks I will be staying in Beijing. 100Y or $16.36. Later, I get my hair done at the Jiasuo Guest House salon. The ladies remember me! 180Y for cute cut and L’Oreal color or $29.45.
The Qinqi Fitness anmo clinic proprietor also remembers me. Her face lights up. We hug and air kiss. At the tailor in the basement of the TusPark building, she also remembers me. I buy a short, plaid corduroy, pleated skirt, also 180Y. Her business has grown, and she now has an apprentice. At the TusPark ATM I see for the first time the VISA/Mastercard logos.
By Thursday, it’s colder 34F / 18C or 1C / -7C and clear but windy, feels like 21F or -6C, riding my bike to campus to have lunch with my former colleague SONG Peijing. The former Overseas Office building is empty. All the buildings in a row north of the library are deserted and surrounded by a construction fence. The long anticipated expansion of the library is underway. The huge bauhinia trees that once shaded the bumpy parking have been dug up and removed to another location. SONG guides me to the new offices in refurbished dormitories next to the gymnasium.
The Centennial Park, where 100 world university presidents planted friendship trees the first month I was at Tsinghua in April 2011, commemorating the centennial of Tsinghua University founded in 1911, looks good, even now in winter. I think I see some hulking carcasses of transplanted bauhinia trees, wrapped in burlap and rope, and cut way back. I take a picture of myself in front of the UCLA pine tree and send it to Chancellor Gene Block. Here’s the link to my blog from April 24, 2011 .
In Dunsmuir today, it’s 50F / 29F or 10C / -1C and clear. In Pyongyang, my next destination, it’s 25F / 10F or -4C / -12C and snowing.
I'm sitting in a tiny coffee shop behind Dongsi subway exit in the Dongcheng District, home to the Forbidden City, known as the National Palace, and Tian’anmen Square, with a kaffei Americano 20Y or $3.27. Traveling here from Wudaokuo train station is mei wenti, no problemo. I take Line 13 to Xizimen Station. Wo zuo 13 haoxian qu Xizimen zhan. Then I transfer to Line 2 for only one stop before transferring to Line 6 and going all the way to Dongsi. Ranhou wo huan 2 haoxian yizhan zhiquian wo huan daodi 6 qu Dongsi. A single subway ticket is 2Y or $.33. The Puffee Café has a secure network with a password. Today is 35F / 17F or 2C / -8C brrrr! It is not windy and seems pleasant in the warm sun.
A new friend from the conference, xin pengyou, Mike ZHANG is meeting me here. He is Senior Editor at Commercial Press Shangwu Yingshiguan, founded in 1897, the first modern publishing house in China, currently employing approximately 600 persons.
We walk to the nearby National Art Museum of China NAMOC to see the new shows of contemporary traditional huahua painters
on the main floor before going upstairs to the fifth floor where the breakaway contemporary artists from the 80s exhibition. When China was opening to the west and their artists were exposed to outside ideas, all western art from the Greeks through Renaissance and Impressionism to Expressionism was promoted through a small art magazine called Translations of Fine Arts. The first issue was launched in 1980 by the Zhejiang Academy of Fine Arts and is still in circulation. The publication reprints articles in English on all the styles and major movements in western art.
With a massive body of traditional Chinese art going back millennium, contemporary artists are at a crucial juncture—to carry traditional styles and ideas into modern themes and techniques or materials OR to breakaway entirely into new directions. It is difficult to discover originality for ALL artists, Eastern or Western. Everything seems to have been done already—and better—by someone else before. Along comes the digital camera to further reduce the artist to a collector of artifacts.
Next, we walk to his place of business located on the trendy Wangfujing Daije shopping street, on the south end that is mainly commercial businesses. The Commercial Press, CP, produces paper books and nothing in e yet, although they do publish American bestseller authors. We tour the gift shop and sip tea. Mike has to run upstairs to meet with his colleagues, so I walk around, buy a Beijing street map 15Y $2.45 and visit a mezzanine art gallery of calligraphy before he returns and takes me to see his office and meet his co-workers. He’s working on the latest edition of the Oxford Dictionary in English with equivalent Chinese words. He’s on “P.”
At 5pm we leave and walk up Wangfujing Daijie to the fashionable retail end to meet his wife Xiong Jie and her friend Mei LEI. His wife, Jane, is an accountant for The World of English, a monthly magazine of English learning and a subsidiary owned and run by CP. This means they can commute together from their home in Haidian District. Mei LEI is a Senior Partner and Attorney at Law in the Beijing office of W&H Law Firm with offices in Asia, Canada and San Francisco. The women are waiting for us when we arrive.
The restaurant 西贝莜面村 (Xi Bei You Mian Cun) is famous for its northwestern style Chinese food, specialized in making noodles, oat noodles. It was established in 2001, headquartered in Inner Mongolia (a region noted for its top-quality mutton), with branches in many cities around China.
1. 果蔬拌菜 (guo shu ban cai, salad mixed with fruits and vegetables)
2. 凉面 (liang mian, cold noodles)
3. 豆芽炒河粉 (dou ya chao he fen, rice noodles stir-fried with bean sprouts)
4. 自制酸奶 (zi zhi suan nai, home-made yogurt)
5. 自制蜂蜜 (zi zhi feng mi, home-made bee honey)
6. 羊肉串 (yang rou chuan, mutton kebab)
7. 功夫鱼 (gong fu yu, Kung Fu fish)
Going down through the mall by escalator, we pass shops Bulgari, Rolex, Zara and more. To get to the exit we walk through a large, children’s toy store to the street. Under a waxing moon, no stars in the velvety night sky, people are out in the evening on the brightly lit walking street. At the Wangfujing subway station we say byebye to Mei. I travel a few stops with Mike and Jane until I get off and transfer to Line 2 heading north, getting home about 9:30pm.
Hou tou jian
After flying from Monday to Wednesday, RDD to SFO to SEA to DET to SHA to HAK, and actually arriving at Xian Lu Fu Hotel at 1:24am Thursday morning. Basically without sleeping. One day was passing the international date line.Read More
Frost over the weekend drops all the leaves. Like golden doubloons, spinning in cerulean blue space, breaking with a soft snap, showering and whispering. Driving behind Lake Siskiyou, up into the mountains,Read More
The scrub jay, Leonard, visited every day, squawking for peanuts which he can take from our fingers mid-air. He was also good at catching insects and was gone many hours every day, probably down at the river catching those huge bugs they have down there that the fish like.
Today I puttered around with the bonsai/penjing trees, weeding and trimming. The long and limber pear and apple tree branches are bowed down to the ground, heavy with fruit this year. And I have lots of tomatoes, fangie or xihongshi. This is my best garden in years.
In the morning, before the hot sun blasts over the ridge behind Apple Street, Bruce and I keep up with small improvements and maintenance on the house.
Bruce and I drove the less popular, back way to Eugene to visit my son and granddaughter for her fourth birthday. We took the highway 97 turnoff at Weed and turned east on highway 161 which paralleled the border through Grass Lake to the town of Tulelake where we crossed the California border near Merrill, Oregon. We picked up highway 97 again at the city of Klamath Lake where we skirted the east side of Upper Klamath Lake. At Chiloquin, an Amtrak depot, we investigated the area around the railroad tracks. The highway passed near Crater Lake, but we pressed toward Eugene and promised to come back next summer to explore the beautiful and remote region.
The party, at a park in Eugene, swelled to include children and adults. I was thrilled to see my ex-husband Richard and Bruce visiting over the cupcake table.
I spent the day savoring the last of summer at Whiskeytown Lake with Helen and Barbara. Canadian geese strutted across the sand while sailboats tacked and turned in our sheltered bay.
On Labor Day, 9/2, I made grape juice for jelly from Marty’s Concord grapes, small but flavorful and grown in north Dunsmuir. On 9/11 we remembered the tragic anniversary.
Every day we must pick fruit and prepare them in for winter. I canned pints of pear halves. I picked fat, windblown apples, red and streaked and spotted yellow with a blue blush, while Leonard the gray jay sang a warbling tune from a low branch. The blue morning glories climbed up the porch and are taller than the tallest sunflowers, past blooming, and making seeds.
My darling son, James, took his first business trip to China, traveling with his boss and an interpreter. Here he was in Shanghai. They provided architecture services in design for clients there.
Happy Mid Autumn Day, Zhongqiu jie, September 19, 2013.
Suddenly the rain arrived in cold chi clouds. I ran between raindrops to fetch ripe apples, downed by last night’s thundershower. I have seen less and less of Leonard the gray jay. This morning black headed juncos from the mountain lakes arrived to pick through the debris of my garden.
Wo hui dao Zhongguo
Every day I study Mandarin. Wo meitian du dou xuexi putonghua. I have mp3 files for lessons I took in Beijing from my teacher, laoshi, Wu Dan. I’m preparing to take a two-month trip that starts in late November in Hainan, the Hawaii of China. I’m attending the 10th CAFIC International Conference on the theme “Intercultural Communication for a Harmonious World: Challenges and Opportunities." I’ll be presenting a paper, co-authored by my boss at Tsinghua, Chen Hong, Director of the Overseas Promotion Department, titled “Building a Better English Website for Chinese Universities” based on research I conducted while working there in 2011.
From there I will travel to Ghanzhou to see the Qingwan Penjing Garden and conduct an interview with the proprietors for European bonsai magazine Bonsai Focus, and California magazine Golden Statements. The next stop is Xi’an and finally on to Beijing where Bruce will be meeting me for a few weeks of Chinese New Year, Spring Festival. The Beijing Breakfast Letter will be revived with more adventures and images.
See you later
One apple caught in the crossing branches,faded red, rotten, hiding in the new snow.
As if marking a milestone, my old gmail account crashed in December. Google denied me access. When I finally got into it, it was empty, everything gone, emails, addresses, all my old Beijing Breakfast Letters. Fortunately I have my old hardcopy diary. I was able to import all my addresses from another location. Finally I am writing to you again.
After spending several wonderful weeks with my family in california, I returned to Beijing on New Year's Eve, Dec 31. I wake to misty mornings, wisps of steam condensate drift between the apartment buildings, feeling sad and confused.
On Jan 2 I had a meeting with my boss Chen. While Bruce prepares for his STanford U Medical Center appointment, Cheryl returns to Beijing. After taking care of business at Tsinghua, I packed up my apartment, visited friends, had my last Chinese hair and massage treatments. I shipped 5 parcels for $4,000. I mounted art on scrolls. I gave away everything I could. We drank saki at my farewell luncheon with Feng and the Department.
On Jan 16 we drive to Stanford, staying at my aunt vera and uncle jay. Sunrise at their house in San Leandro hills in the east bay, near san francisco and stanford. After a good meeting we head home ahead of a storm. Next day it snows 12 inches.
Boxes from China are arriving everyday. The Overseas office is closed for four weeks during Spring Festival. It's been snowing for days. It started the day we got back from the bay area. 12 inches the first day.
Quiet in the afternoon. Snowing outside the nook which is my winter painting studio. Spread out dishes and brushes and paper and enjoy painting persimmons on a branch in black and colored paint. Outside the window I see the snow bending the two kinds of bamboo and burying the tops. Walking in the quiet streets, warm boots and snow sticking to the wool scarf around my neck.
On nice days I walk up the hill behind the house. I took my old dell computer to the shop to get its broken lid removed. The idea is to use the keyboard on the CPU and the external monitor I brought back from China in my suitcase. Later I walk around Castella with Helen. She shows me her juniper bonsai.
At home I scrape snow off the concrete blocks I use for stands for clear plexi lids, reinforced this summer by Bruce using old redwood from the McCloud mill site. The lids cover my bonsai collection for the winter. We now have about 30 inches snow accumulation!
See you later
Several times last week they were filming a movie at Tsinghua with the actor Wang Li Hong. (Leehom Wang) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leehom_Wang He is an American born Chinese singer-song writer, record producer actor and film director. He received classical training at Eastman School of Music, Williams College and Berkelee College of Music. He fuses Chinese opera and fold styles with R&B and is a four time winner of the Golden Melody Awards, the Taiwan 'Grammys.'
They had all the gear there, booms, giant reflectors, vans and truck and lots of security. Its a beautiful campus with buildings of all eras, I'm surprised they don't film here more often.
Feng and her 9 year old son Alex came over Sunday nite to hua hua with me. We painted lotus and rocks and water falls, practiced lines, cross hatches circles and little guppy fish.
I've been rising at 5am, sitting in my favorite chair in the living room looking east I watch the sunrise while drinking hong cha and writing. Zaoshang wo yibian hecha yibian xieshu.
Early morning rising before dawn only a faint hint of light in the sky to the east between the business park buildings. Facing the morning, I watch the color stealing through the black tree foliage in the hutong, pink to salmon to dark orange when the reveals in brilliant red gold.
One morning a big magpie in his black and white tuxedo plumage flew onto the window ledge and looked into my apartment while calling out 'caw caw.'
Tired golden brown leaves drop one by one off smooth white barked branches of magnolia denudata, leaving fuzzy buds of next year's flowers on the tips. Some leaves are still green, showing burnt brown edges where the sap is slowly draining away. Birds ate all the coral red berry fruit that hung in bunches along the branches all summer.
Not much blooming now. I was surprised to see these roses near my office. Although the tag said Rosa chinensis jacq. when I looked it up online it doesn't resemble the pink rose I found there.
Friday Dr's Monica and Sharon and I met for lunch. The first time in a long time it seemed. We had a lot to catch up on. Monica works in a key national laboratory. On the door of the building it says: Tsinghua National Laboratory for Information Science and Technology. She is a research scientist studying DNA.
For fun I took a picture on the door to my office: Office of Overseas Promotion.
It's getting colder, foggy/smoggy, heavy mist almost like rain. The melodious sound of a Chinese flute floated over the brown spent lotus foliage of the lotus pond shui mu qing hua. Workers are chipping bricks from a demolition project adjacent to the road and sewer work in our neighborhood.
Saturday Li and Eunice came to my apartment for another painting party. They are pictured next to their first huahua.
One thing I like to draw and paint are the grotesque rocks used to decorate the landscape here at Tsinghua, and other places. Many of the finest come from Tai Lake in Jiangsu Province. There are many accounts of emperors ordering fantastic rocks be delivered to the capitol. Men lost life and risked much to bring them in the old days. If you were the captain in of a rock delivery that fell into a schism you would run for the hills and become a bandit before returning in disgrace to the capitol.
This particular rock is in a small park between my office and the little coffee cafe I like. It has a marker rock that says: "TAIHU SHI"(太湖石).
Hui tou jian
It's final, I will be visiting Dunsmuir this summer, July 27 to August 16! The end of the term is fast approaching. Suddenly I am very busy proofing articles for the next campus newsletter. It comes out 3x and is a 4-color glossy journal produced in English by our department. Other projects suddenly are phasing into the final stages, and all are needing proofing by the foreign expert in English. Every two weeks I search various international news outlets like Businessweek and Reuters for mention of Tsinghua. I found a nice bit about all the US patents granted this year. I think IBM had the most, over 500, and among universities Berkeley was #1 with just under 200. Tsinghua was right up there in the top 10 universities. So we made an article out of that for the newsletter/journal.
At the anmo clinic, I met a delightful and beautiful young woman busying herself with the tea set and who poured me these tiny little fluted porcelain thimbles of tea. Jasmine is the most popular kind in Beijing, hua cha. She had an art book in her lap and that led to exchanging cards and attempts to talk, her in Mandarin, me with a few pitiful phrases alternating with English. But the main ideas were clearly communicated. I wanted to see her studio, and we both wanted to check each others websites to see what kind of art the other did. http://www.qiuyunart.com/ She is pretty accomplished in Chinese brush painting, hua zhongguo hua.
She, QIU Yun, and her husband PEI Yunzhang, picked me up in her Honda. They took me to her studio in a nice apartment building which they bought and finished the interior themselves. It's huge with several rooms and a couple little East facing balconies. She also paints in oils with a spiritual Buddhist theme. They, Yun and Yun, are Tibetan Buddhists which also means they are vegetarian and don't drink.
We later went out to eat at a tony 'Natural Vegetarian' restaurant. For you foodies: we had cone-shaped nori wraps with lettuce, slivered pear and some other things, a vegetable stew with yellow squash and something purple cubed, little tofurkey sausages with Chinese katsup and powdered cumin dipping sauce, big communal plate of lightly seasoned escarole piled up high with cubed pickled something red and orange on the side, veggie pot stickers presented under a puffy paper thin rice batter crepe, and braised tofu slices.
The next day, on Sunday, xingqi tian, we went shopping for Cheryl's art supplies. We went downtown near the big Art Academy which is surrounded by little art shops where I got brushes and tubes of water base tube colors. wo maile huabi he yanliao.
BTW Yunzhang works at Google, yes there is a Google office still in Beijing at the Tsinghua (TUS Park) Science Park. He is 38-years-old, slightly older than my son. They have a 9-year-old son and live two buildings away from me with his mother and grandmother who is 90.
I went downstairs to do a little photography and happened to catch some big equipment squeeze through the gate, a big front loader and two big dump trucks. So I guess they don't use manpower for everything. The migrant men were off for the day, xiaban, eating their ramen noodles and drinking beer next to the little minimart. They are friendly, not shy about the camera. Clean clothes. Decent, hard working guys with families back home, far away.
Listening to some sets of Steely Dan made me think about the 80s in LA and my old friends and life at Cooke's Crating, living in a warehouse in downtown LA with other young artists. Steely Dan captured the whole LA scene, cocaine, yearning for fame, living life with art and music and disillusionment. Where is Rick Cox now? The talented studio musician and the coke whores Genisse and Sarah? I saw Chas on a demo video online doing the same ambient music awhile back. He still lives in the same house we lived in Sherman Oaks. Lisa with the green hair and Heather, Jame's favorite babysitter? I got my first computer job back then, working for Walter Bilofsky in the Union Bank building on Ventura Boulevard.
Today Yun and Yunzhang came over with their son James to give me a little Chinese painting hua zhongguo hua lesson and have dinner. Afterward we all got into Yun's car and drove to the TusPark complex where Yunzhang works. At the lower level are some little shops where Yun introduced me to a young woman who is a tailor. She is making up some things for me.
My internet connection was down for 24 hours again this weekend. Zhoumo wode diannao bukeyi shangwang le.
Monday was my last anmo treatment. My shoulder is pretty nearly straight, and my foot is back to normal. I got acupuncture needle treatment in my hand and foot. More excruciating massage of abdomen and legs, but the painful pressure points in my arms and shoulders have diminished, so I guess the treatment is working.
I went downtown for the last time to pick up the residence permit in my passport. This will be good until the end of my work contract at Tsinghua, in March 2012.
Hui tou jian
I finally got the Beijing hay fever from all the wind, dust, pollen blowing around. Discovered the yaodian, pharmacy, next door to the little market and bought some asipilin, aspirin. I examined the package carefully, and it looks like genuine Bayer but big effervescent tablets with some vitamin C, a great way to take aspirin! Box for 22 Y or $3.38, not cheap. The store smelled like Chinese herbs, ginseng, clean and brightly lit with pairs of pleasant sales girls behind every counter. They fill out a slip which you take to the cashier and bring it back stamped 'paid' to pick up your purchase.
Sitting on the grassy hill next to the office, I see small clumps of students under the wisteria pergola. A boy is playing a guitar and the others sing along. Big rain birds are lazily spouting arching streams of water. Fashions: red silk pajamas, shorts with flesh colored leggings and medium high heels, lots of long swirly skirts on the young girls with the warm weather.
A man smoking a cigarette is caught between rain birds and can't go forward or backward without getting his taupe gabardine trousers wet-- they just banned public smoking throughout China. Young girls run through, screaming and giggling wearing french t-shirt and jeans with glitter on the back pocket on one, short ruffled pink dress with tie straps on the other. Not too many hats or parasols today cause a little overcast but hot and spring like.
On Friday it sounded like squadrons of B52s over Tsinghua-- reminiscent of old WWII movies-- this went on for about 45 minutes. They had sent a squad of grounds keepers to our little park to mow and blow! Down the hall on or floor they are installing a farm of Dell processors in a room they have been preparing for weeks. The hallway is littered with big Dell and A/C boxes, copper coaxial cable, tool boxes and stuff.
I am labeling data in my gigantic excel spreadsheet comparison of 7 each universities from US , Asia , China and Europe . A mindless task that allows me to mull over the data as I click and tab through the 100s of fields, thinking about formulas, the implications, the similarities and differences. The new spreadsheets these days are pretty with colored schemes to help organize the columns and rows.
When I first moved into my apartment I was amused to find a booklet describing my place for "visiting scholars," so that made me a "visiting scholar!" Now I know a little more about the complex roles here. Altho I am a FE that doesn't make me a VS. While riding to the little shopping center with Monica, we passed an Asian guy who waved at us. She tells me he is a VS from USC who is a full professor there but he visits Tsinghua a few times a year, staying several weeks at a time to supervise doctoral students at Tsinghua. Monica also tells me about her own supervising professor who earned his doctorate in the US years ago. He comes to TU every 3 months to check on his research fellows like Monica. She is post doc and consequently her supervising prof is of higher stature than those supervising the younger, lower doc candidates.
So, these "visiting scholars" need somewhere to stay, but only for a short while, until the next VS moves in for a shot visit, and so on. The university is eager to attract quality VS and send recruiting agents around to "top" foreign universities to find them. Once here, they lavish them with perks such as a really nice apartment like mine-- really nice by TU standards.
Today, Saturday, I worked on my computer at the office, adding drop down windows to the menu on my new website and doing some housekeeping on my Peony Pavilion video. Lunch was Thai curry pasta 18Y or $2.77 and Americano caffe 14 Y $2.15 at the Times Cafe near the office on the ground floor level of the big student/staff canteen, filled with young people.
Hui tou jian
2/21 Go to Redding and discover I have made plane reservations for the wrong month!! March! So they set me up for the next day. Luckily I was able to stay at a friend's apartment in town. Dunsmuir is an hour drive away. I had gone to China with my friend in November 2010. Although I have a boarding pass for RDD, I am standby for SFO to PEK. Hopefully, I'll be able to get on ok. Had to email Tsinghua University to change the interview date.
2/24 Today I have lunch with some of the people from the Tsinghua University media office. We drink chrysanthemum tea with serving plates of bamboo shoots, lotus root, smoked fish, rice noodles, eggplant and rice. They seem to really like me and are full of questions. How did I lean how to use chopsticks? How long have I been studying Chinese from a cd? They seem amazed at the tiny amount I can speak Mandarin and think my accent is very good. Out of twenty-five applicants, I am rising to the top of the list. The weather is pleasantly cool and sunny.
2/26 This morning I awake to fresh snow, delicate as powdered sugar, lining the branches and covering the brown dirt of yesterday's winter landscape. Hurriedly I dress and go out with my camera to capture the magical morning, my first day staying on campus at the Jiasuo Guest House in the old part of the campus. The school president's office is catty corner to Jiasuo and is housed in a Qing Dynasty era compound, once the residence of a prince. The architecture is exactly the same as the Summer Palace building adjacent to the large Tsinghua campus.
Tsinghua was named one of the most beautiful campuses in the world by Forbes magazine in 2010 and is the only university in Asia on the list.
The sound of a flute draws me toward the frozen lily pond in a darling grotto setting surrounded by rockery and trees. Finally I spy a dark figure on the edge of the ice under a dark cypress playing an ancient ode or modern composition, I wouldn't know.
The Jiasuo breakfast buffet is all Asian, starting with delicious sweet and juicy watermelon slices, fried eggs all perfectly round, scrambled eggs with slivered zucchini and bokchoy, delicately spiced with anise, and puffy, fried flat bread. Incongruously, the tea and coffee service has a jar of coffeemate with a little spoon too short to reach the bottom without putting your hand into the jar. Darling serving girls stand in pairs, chatting, dressed in short black jackets and long red skirts. Subtle music plays "Hotel California" in the background.
Most of the guests of this posh campus hotel are Asian and as I breakfast by myself at a big, round table with an ivory damask tablecloth, I can glance surreptitiously around as the handful of men come and go. I'm surprised when one sits at my table. The university men are very shy and well mannered, but we manage to star a conversation. He is here on a one day symposium on architecture.
My legs are sore from a meridian massage I got yesterday at the previous hotel. I thought I would faint from the burning pain as the masseuse's expert fingers slid over the meridian points. I clearly have some chi blockage. The next day little bruises appear in lines on the inside and outside of my calf. I am fascinated by Chinese massage, and I've never had the same type twice. There must me an infinite variety.
2/28 Today my informal (because I am not officially hired yet) assignment is to review an old 2007 promotional video of the university and make suggestions on impreovement for a new one. Oh joy! I hope this leads to more video and in combination with the school website.