Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Day One in Beijing

I arrived in Beijing early in the day; by the time I navigated the
maze of the train station, it was nearly ten. After a short delay to
text directions to someone in Wuhan trying to find a meeting, I found
my way to the subway. I love subways--the most efficient and quick
way to get around in a big city. One of the things I'm most looking
forward to in the future is more and more cities buildling
comprehensive subway networks. Wuhan's new line that just opened has
already opened up a lot of new possibilities for me.

I first found my hotel and left my backpack; I was a bit sleepy after
the slightly interuppted sleep on the train--the bunk was so narrow, I
had to wake up to turn over. I thought about taking a nap, but it was
a beautiful sunny day out, and besides, my two roommates in the dorm
turned out to be quite chatty, so I headed out. I explored a bit of
the area around the hotel--a new shopping street--and then had a
leisurely lunch. I'm rereading the books of Madeleine L'Engle, so I
enjoyed sitting somewhere warm to lose myself in that world for a
while.

Next, I headed on the subway up to the Olympic village from the 2008
games; the Bird's Nest stadium, the glowing blue Acquatic Center, and
several other things are still there, and they still turn on the
lights at night, as tourists still come to take pictures. I hung
around until it got dark to see the lights come on. In the afternoon,
it hadn't felt too cold, since the sun was shining and there was no
wind, but as soon as the sun went down, the cold seemed to seep into
my bones. The river running behind the stadium was frozen solid. I
was glad to make it back to the warmth of the hostel.

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