Tonight is the end to the official Chinese New Year celebration and with it comes much noise. Firecrackers and fire bombs are going off all over Beijing. When I stand on the balconies of my apartment, looking in all directions, you can see the flashes of the firebombs. The sound is incredible as it reverberates across the city. I can only image what a real war zone must sound like when the sounds that I enjoy listening to mean that terror and fear are in the area. It is at times like this that I realize how blessed I am to be living in a safe country.
The blue skies we enjoyed for the past two weeks have disappeared and today we were surrounded by air you could not only see but eat if you had the need. Tomorrow morning will be interesting to see, as not only will we have smog and fog to contend with, but the smoke left over from tens of thousands of bombs. The joys of Beijing.
Today I had a bit of a China moment and as is my usual way of handling those situations I went off the rails a bit. I sometimes behave here in a manner I would never behave at home. It isn’t something I am proud of but it does happen. I have stories of all of my friends who have reacted in totally unacceptable ways to China Days. We all feel bad about it later but it happens.
Of course, I have been pinched by beggars that are 6 years old, sworn at by the same beggar, kicked out of a taxi in the middle of a busy street because I swore at a cab driver ( the only English he apparently understood), yelled at by owners of shops at the markets because I won’t pay their high prices, had a beggar hang onto a taxi door so I couldn’t close it because I didn’t give him enough money, had water bottles that I was still using taken right out of my hand so they could be used by someone else, stared at, pointed to, touched, crowded, dumped out in the middle of a totally Chinese section of Beijing where no one spoke Chinese because driver decided it was time to go home and a million other small things. It is part of life in China.
On the other hand, I could spend hours and hours writing about this incredible country. A country with a written recorded history of over 5,000 years. A country where some of the great inventions we still use were discovered. A country where there are many spoken languages but only one written language so that everyone can communicate. A country that believes it is the center of the earth. A country where I can walk the history of thousands of years. I have walked on Tiananmen Square, listened to the Messiah in the Forbidden City concert hall, walk the streets that Marco Polo walked, walked under the massive gates that were the entrance to the old city for a thousand years, walked on the Great Wall. My life is so enriched by living here….a life I never dreamed of having…but here it is.
OK enough of all of this. The endless noise must be getting to me. It has taken 2 hours to write what I have written so far which as I reread it is not all that interesting but I have an excuse. I was watching John Travolta and Madeline Stowe in the General’s Daughter on a DVD as I was writing. Great story and John has great hands. I seem to have a thing lately or maybe always about male hands. I don’t think I will go any further on that thought. It is definitely the thought that sleep is a long way away tonight that is has me rambling. Gotta stop….
Oh yes, another thing….I got an obscene message on my other blog today. The first one that hasn’t been caught by the good spam detector. Well, at least I know somewhere someone is interested about my thoughts on education. 🙂