Beijing – Take 3

Beijing China Forbidden City

I managed to eat a bowl of soup today and not be looking at it again 20 minutes later.

Thats quite an improvement over the last 48 hours. I’m definitely still weak and not up to par, but hey — I’ll take it over being intimate with a Chinese toilet any day.

The weather here is cool and clear, even the pollution seems to have taken the weekend off and revealed a gorgeous blue sky which is normally obscured by Beijing’s signature depressing blanket of gray. The same gray pollution that is going to give the Olympic swimmers quite a treat when they stick their mouths above the water to suck in that one precious breath of much needed, race-winning oxygen next year.

I decided to celebrate my freedom from the toilet by getting a haircut. Always an ambitious endeavor in Asia, it seems. I took a walk down Dha Zha Lan, where my hostel is, and found three places. One was shut, one had three guys with similar mohawks sitting inside smoking while waiting for another victim, and one had a young, nice-looking Chinese guy inside. I picked the last place, and flopped myself down in the chair so that he could do his worst. I opted for the $3 haircut instead of the $1…as if it made any difference.

Needless to say, it wasn’t the best haircut I’ve had, but it wasn’t the worst either. At least I didn’t leave looking like the white-trash version of Eminem like I did coming out of the Shaolin School barber shop two months ago.

Walking back from my haircut, I was smiling. A rickshaw driver almost removed two of my toes. Motorbikes, pedestrians, and bicycles mixed in a chaotic orgy of danger here. A man was holding a smoking squid on a stick in my face trying to tempt me, people were calling to me from rip-off shops, and a whiff of sewage blasted up my nostril making me close my eyes for a minute.

Beijing can only be described as helplessly chaotic and dreadfully addictive.

I love it.

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  1. Drink lots of water over the next week, your gut will need flushing out and no matter what the hairstyle I can’t wait to have you home….smile. xxx

  2. Wow. … sounds like you had it bad…yuck.
    But glad to hear you are starting to recover and get out and about again.
    Not sure I would like Beijing from the sounds of it. LA has that same wonderful cloud of gray that hangs over it all the time and from the minute I go across the santa annas till the time I go back across them I have a massive headache. So I can only conclude that Beijing would have the same effect on me. Even though I do understand the love of the chaos. Like the love of the country, mountains, small towns.. there is something about cities that can and does draw a person deeper into it. Columbia had the venders all over the place getting in your face trying to sell you stuff all the time. It was fantastic. Perhaps we have brain damage.

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