A Hutong night
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What I did
A real mix of a day, I (Tracy) had a mini wobble today & did the 'I don't know if I can do this' thing at work, and a few tears. Really not quite sure why!! Andy & I have been doing our first meeting presentations to each other which has been going well, and I went to do a few new bits & the words just didn't come out. Had to have a 'man up' conversation with myself, and remind myself that it's all new, it was never going to be easy & remember how I've felt with my last few jobs starting something totally new.
So, I got over it and know where my weaknesses are & am determined to start next with with a confident positive attitude! Andy has been supportive & convinced me that I can do it!
Enrolled for some Chinese classes today, the local Chinese school is offering free elementary classes to residents of the Diplomatic Compound where we work, so it's 2 weeks starting on Monday, double sessions on a Mon / Wed / Fri morning 1000 - 1140 so we're going for it, it's a start anyway & it's free which is a bonus. We're getting frustrated not being able to communicate passed hello & thank you. There aren't huge amounts of people that speak English to be honest, so we really need to make a start.
Just back from a fab evening, we met a couple that we met at the Inter Nations evening last Friday, Roberto (from Chile) and Annick (from Belgium), they invited us out for dinner. They are both architects, a bit younger than us, mid 30's maybe, and have lived here for 4 yrs, prior to that they lived in New York for 10 years. They took us to a fab Hutong (see below re: Hutong) restaurant, we sat outside in a courtyard setting. We had a fab Chinese meal, a set menu - loads of various dishes, meat, veg, fish, rice, noodles etc. washed down with a few beers of course. A lovely warm evening sat outside, but all of a sudden a wind that came from no-where turned into a massive storm! Heavy rain, thunder, lightening..... luckily we'd finished eating so went inside to finish our drinks. Good company, and good food.
The first Hutong appeared in Beijing in the Yuan Dynasty in the wake of Genghis Khan's army, there was more than 6000 hutongs which criss crossed the city in the 1950's, sadly there are now only 2000 left after the construction of office buildings & blocks demolished them, the oldest being 900 years old
We walked there which took around 35 mins through what's known as Ghost Street (named after an eerie night market that was once here), a long section (1.4km) of the street with loads of restaurants (approx 150), mainly Chinese with loads of red Chinese lanterns lit up outside, very beautiful, busy and full of character, buzzing with lots of locals & pleasantly, hardly any tourists.
So, it's raining, we need to get home - don't want to walk as it's raining hard, couldn't get a taxi as they were so busy, so jumped on a bus, a first experience, and a good one, packed at rush hour, you wouldn't want to be on one, only cost 1 yuan, approx 10p. Drying out back at home now with a glass of vino.
A few ticks off the list tonight, our first Hutong experience, Ghost Street, bus ride and dinner with new friends!