Friday, December 13, 2013

Beijing

I have often heard about these people which tell you that they have the most wonderful roommates in the world. Many people just like to say that because it sounds cool. But I really had the best roommates in the world in Beijing.
I explained how I travelled, how I just lost my blog and needed time to recover it and found infinite understanding on their part.
"You take your time and repair your blog," said Chao Su. And they really give me space to do it.
They are here when I need them, they leave me alone when I need to work, they have true respect and compassion about who I am and what I do.

At lunchtime, Ivy, one of the three girls starts hysterically waving at me.
"Filiiiip hello. Now we eat okkkkk? Che-faa! Me cook"
"Do you want help?"
"Yeaaaaaaah"
She shows me how to cut some meat and screams everytime I accidenty point a knife in her direction. She's funny, hyperactive and always laughing. Her high-pitched voice sounds hysteric when she speaks in Chinese and she tries to do everything at the same time. She studied to be a lawyer but she ended up working in a library which also rents movies.
Breakfast and Ivy

She speaks some english, it is very basic but still a million times better than my chinese. She has a boyfriend who is also very funny, he is a designer for National Geographic and also fights with swords.
The other girl brings dumplings. The food is very good and comes from all sides. The other girl is different from Ivy and I like her very much too. She is the kind of person who is programmed to have her own way but tries very much to be kind and understanding to others. She also have a funny way of handling social relations. She's fun, curious and likes to connects but she's like a battery. You see that long social contact drains her out, she needs to recharge to be socially active again.
That's fine with me because I also function like that. In the evening, we go buy food to the local shop. It's also her local best friend's birthday and we have to hurry to preapare something.
"We have to cook, we have to make a cake, we are late"

Screw making a cake, we have to buy a cake but it's really a classy one. We celebrate a birhtday with candles and wishes. The chinese like their fireworks to they have a very complex singing candle with pyrotechnics. The only problem is that the candle never stops singing even when we try to kill it with water.
Birthday

Chao Su knows a lot about chinese history and he is really good at talking about it. The quick story is that one day China was big and strong and ruled by the Han chinese dynasty but then there was a revolution, the farmers took over and screwed the wife of some general who was guarding the wall so the general got angry and opened the wall to the Man chinese dynasty who kicked the shit out of the farmers and started to rule China. But the Man chinese were kind of dumb so they closed china to technology and when the british attacked them, they still had bows and arrows and the british kicked the shit out of the chinese and then there was warld war 2 and the japanese also kicked the shit out of the chinese and I am not sure about that but I wouldn't be surprised if the korean kicked the shit out of the chinese too and don't forget the french who also came because it looked easy. So china was basically bullied by everybody so it became frustrated and full of complexes so now it just has the mentality of the colombine high school nerds with a nuclear weapon: please just leave me alone but one day I will show you jocks what I can do!


During the day, I visit Beijing. It is a nice city, not too big or at least smaller than I thought and not too polluted or at least less than I thought.

The sadness of having lost my blog is still on my mind but a little bit lighter because I have all the time in the world to recover it from the drafts on my computer. Each morning and night I try to recover the dates from my GPS beacon and the text from various places on my tablet.
Tian an men square, I have actually made it to Beijing
For the first time I have the feeling that I have actually achieved something. I have hitchhiked countless kilometers from europe to China, at least as long as the Pekin Express reality show and most likely in much harder conditions. I could stop now, that would be fair. But one of the upsides of being far is that it does not take too long to get further.
Street in central Beijing

Twilight

Cafe near the lake

One time I get approached by a guy who tries to sell me a prostitute for 100 yuan. 100 Yuan! Can you imagine? That is not even twenty dollars. I tell him that I already have a girlfriend and spend the night wondering how much the night girls make. I would have expected ten times that amount and only for the girl.

I live a calm and happy life with the roommates, I almost forget that I am on a long and dangerous trip to god knows where.

I buy a microSD card for one prostitute and an MP3 player for 1.5 prostitutes. I will put my chinese prices in prostitutes from now as a new currency. My current spendings equal a little more than one prostitute per month which is a fair achievement.

I have to remember it when the harsh reality shows on my passport: my chinese visa is coming to an end and my only way to renew it is to exit china and then enter it again. The only country which is in hitchhiking range is mongolia and it is not the warmest path. The other possible countries are Hong Kong and Laos, both very far.

Since I have fear and respect for the cold that awaits me, I decide to plan await and send a million couch requests to cities on my way. I get one reply from Zhangjiakou, a city 200 kilometers northwest of Beijing and a very good way to gather strength before the harsh and risky ride to Erenhot.

I took the coat Su has given me, I can use it together with my sweater from armenia and my coat from igor. I hope it will be enough. Temperatures in Erenhot reach -23 celsius and it is already cold in Beijing. Tomorrow I will start from that toll station where the last driver has left me.