DISPATCHES FROM BEIJING
I'm in China for a few weeks for "work." I say "work" cause I'm a summer associate at a law firm, so I'm not actually qualified to work as a lawyer in the US, let alone China. I've got no Mandarin language skills and there's really no reason for me to be here. Can't say I'm upset being the beneficiary of this absurd program though
- •Listapp works in Beijing!This is an even bigger deal than it might seem because most of my other social media (Facebook/Instagram/snapchat) is blocked here.
- •Hello BingGoogle's also banned, so goodbye gmail, maps, and search. Getting by on Bing and Apple Maps hasn't been terrible. And I can get around the firewall at work, so I'm not completely cut off.
- •Forbidden City was fucking incredible.I got spoiled with an amazingly clear sky my first day here.
- •The smog is real.Most days, my weather app says it's sunny...but the dense cloud of pollution begs to differ. It sucks not being able to run outside.
- •Not as xenophobic as I was led to expect!It's strange being an extreme minority (I'm your typical white dude) and before I came, people told me to expect stares and unfavorable treatment. So far, The only things I've noticed were being asked for a pic with a well intentioned high schooler, and being turned down for a cab cause I couldn't communicate the name of my hotel. And that one's totally on me.
- •Sometimes the language barrier sucks. Most of the time it doesn't.It might seem contradictory to feel anonymous in a city where I stick out like a sore thumb, but my foreign status/lack of language skills creates a barrier to initial contact. It might get lonely, but for now, I'm enjoying the lack of pressure to engage, and reveling in my solitary explorations.
- •Everything seems to be made for someone slightly smaller than me.I mean, this figures, right? Only complaint is that my desk chair/computer placement is starting to cause back pain.
- •Lost in translationThe Mandarin word "nega" is a common filler word, like "um." It's a little disconcerting hearing it repeated in casual conversation with such regularity. Especially when I have no other context for the conversation.
- •Dumpling mania!I didn't think it was possible to have too many dumplings, but I might be at capacity.
- •Subway gets an A.The sandwiches are just better here. Psyche! Talking 'bout public transit. It's remarkably clean, efficient, and easy to traverse.
- •Recommendations welcome!!I don't have a lot of time, but let me know what's on your must-see/do list!