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Arriving in Beijing was anti-climatic. I was alone and it was 1:30 am. Instead of being rounded up with the other exchange students, given flowers and having cameras flashing all around us like we were celebrities, I quietly dragged my things to the meeting area to wait for the shuttle to my hotel. Beijing was exactly the same as I remembered, except with more subway lines and worse smog. The hotel I stayed at is on the outskirts of the city, like really the outskirts. I thought I was living on the outskirts last time, but when I told Mi Wa where my hotel was, she said a lot of people don't even consider it part of the city. The location is a little creepy with the grey hazy sky, large areas of nothing, and random uniform communist buildings. Apparently, there is now a subway close to Mi Wa's and it only takes her 40 minutes to get to the center of Beijing...that would have been nice back in the day, oh well. I went with Mi Wa to Qianmen where we went into various shops, I had some green tea ice cream and then we ate an enormous lunch. Mi Wa is the same as always except now she is kind of into shopping and watches a bunch of those trashy cw t.v. shows. I am happy that now she actually has time to do things aside from study. She is also taking driving lessons and will hopefully get her license soon. We took a bus from Qianmen to Wangfujing and went inside the last mall on the street. That was a weird experience because I had been to that mall so many times with my friends three years ago, and here I was, shopping there again. Walking through one store I had flashbacks to when I bought some funky capris, though of course the store did not carry them three years later. The same bakery was there that, three years ago, to the fascination of me and the other American students, carried bread with weird shavings called flosss sprinkled on it. Beijing was the same, but it no longer was new and exciting. This time it was like returning to an old and familiar place. Now I am on my second, final day in Beijing and unfortunately I am sick and using it to rest and recover. However, the hotel room is pretty sweet and I haven't had an actual day of rest since before I left, so aside from the discomfort of being sick, I'm not really complaining. Tomorrow I will fly to Yuncheng to visit the Chinese fellow from last year who was also my teacher. Hopefully I will have recovered by then.

Posted by Maia L 18:58 Archived in China

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