I live in a rich culture, one I do not claim to understand. And although I'm in my second year here, I sometimes approach my daily surroundings with a renewed sense of awe and amazement. When I see a sidewalk haircut, or an extremely crowded subway, I'm reminded that I am, indeed, a foreigner.
The last couple months have afforded me the amazing opportunity to be a tourist in this giant city. I can't really describe the sheer size of Beijing, but trust me when I say it's BIG.
In small clusters all around Beijing there are 'hutongs' which literally means alleyways. These alleyways thread together to created a unique tapestry of traditional Chinese homes. Four homes face inward toward a center courtyard, where meals are shared and people relax in community. My friend Katie and I spent an afternoon navigating these one of these preserved communities. Many hutongs are being replaced by more profit-making high rise buildings.
Major League Baseball made it's debut in Beijing on March 15th and my friends and I were there to witness it! Most of the game's attendees missed the first pitch- in fact most of the first inning had empty stands due to a bottleneck at the security check. We took it in stride knowing that this was just a kink that needed to be worked out pre-Olympics (when much more is on the line). The most fervent Padres fans (besides yours truly) were a group of Korean and Japanese exchange students that chanted just behind us. Parellel with the 3rd base line, planes took off and landed at Beijing Airport. The wind cut through every layer of clothing, and the blue sky glistened up above. I've said nothing of the Padres performance, which wasn't exactly exemplary. I think the real joy of the game came from the overall experience of baseball in China. Watching young Chinese boys shove a hot dog into their face, hearing baseball chants in other languages, seeing Fox News cover the event, and contemplating the use of cheerleaders in baseball were much more entertaining than the Dodgers and Padres 2nd string players. The final score was 3-3.. a tie..so collective and ultimately very appropriate, I suppose.