Wuddup. I haven’t posted in a while and can’t think of anything of particular importance, so I am going to make a very “bloggy” blog post that discusses what I did yesterday. The day started early with Erin and I heading over to The Hutong for a quick tour of one of the local markets. We were led by master chef Joel who took us through the market explaining what everything was. We have been to a lot of markets so it wasn’t anything new, but it was good to learn what some of the questionable looking spices were and what they are used for. It was a pretty beautiful day for Beijing, the sky was a bluish gray and it was pretty warm. After the tour, we headed back to the Hutong for a Thai cooking class, where we were going to make minced pork, a green curry, and a papaya salad. Our teacher was Ling Pei, a Malaysian chef that obviously knew a lot about Thai cooking, and I was pretty amazed at how good the green curry tasted. The class was a good example of a foreigners outing in Beijing; there were 4 Americans, 2 Russians, a Spaniard, a German, a Malaysian, and a Chinese ayi (literally means Auntie, in this instance the woman who helps the class and cleans).

After the class I went to Jingshan park with a friend to enjoy the day. The weather was nice but the sky wasn’t really clear, and a normally stunning view of Beijing was only mediocre. I will attach some pictures of when we came to the same park on a clearer day. I had some food a little bit later and walked around some of the old parts of Beijing for about an hour. On my way to the subway station, I saw an unfortunately all too common scene.

Two old foreigners were trying to talk to a guard and a driver and I already knew what was going on. Many taxi’s and 3 wheel “cars” prey on the old foreigners in this area and offer them rides at seemingly fair prices. Upon arriving at the destination, the price which was originally 3 turns into 300. I saw what was going on and asked them what was going on, and they told me that the driver said 3 and they said OK, and then was asking for 300 when they got there. I don’t know why, but these things make me so angry that I can barely control myself. I picture my grandparents or parents coming to China for a visit and getting ripped off by some scumbag that intimidates them and acts like his price is a fair one. It even happened to Erin, the other Tangshan teacher and I, with us almost getting run over by the angry driver after I kicked the door open and we paid him nothing. That being said, I got into the driver’s face and told him he was a cheat, a bad person, and to leave now. He tried to act like his price was fair but as soon as I started speaking Chinese, he realized the jig was up, and basically ran to his little bike and rode off. The young guard that was approached by the old couple just laughed at the whole situation, and I yelled at him too, saying that he knows the price isn’t fair and the old couple asked him for help. The French couple was happy that I arrived, and I hope that this blog post can help someone avoid these scams in the future. A very drunken Chinese man then talked to me on the walk to the subway, telling me I was a good guy and that he hopes I don’t think everyone in China is a cheat (I don’t). I stopped for some street food (dinner for $1), and went back home.

So that is a fairly typical non-work day I would say. I am not taking cooking classes and fighting with drivers on a daily basis, but you get the picture. Hope everyone is doing well and I am thinking about home a lot more recently with my brother and his wife soon to have their first baby! I can’t wait. That is all for now, 再见 (this means goodbye).

“Happiness is the absence of the striving for happiness.”

-Zhuangzi

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