I’ve just gone through my first public holiday here – “National Day”. I had exactly one week to myself to do whatever I wanted, but now, I have exactly one full week of classes. I don’t mean what we consider a full week (Monday – Friday), I really mean a full week (Saturday – Friday).
The holiday started off on an unexpected high. It was one of those Friday evenings where there was nothing to do but hang around and do nothing, because we knew we had an entire free week ahead, so we could afford to do nothing. Tula and I started a new tradition 2 Fridays ago where we try a strange food on a Friday. We call it “Try-new-food-day”. So we went to a Muslim restaurant and tried their version of tripe. It was good. Then I got invited to go to Hou Hai with Cynthia and her 2 Chinese friends. I had to take the Subway by myself and meet them there because they had already left school. When I got to Hou Hai, I was pretty mad at myself for not bringing a camera because it was really beautiful.
Hou Hai has about 3 huge lakes with bars and restaurants built up around them. The four of us rented 2, 2-person bicycles to ride around the lake. I was in the front of one of the bicycles, and believe me, it is not easy to ride. For the first half hour, I kept on zig-zagging all over the place because I couldn’t manage to hold the handlebar straight. After awhile I got the hang of it. I also didn’t realise that there was a bell on the bicycle for the first half hour, so everytime I saw someone in front of me, Cynthia suggested that I could shout “Wo Lai, wo lai” (I come, I come). There were also boats that people could rent to go on the lake, and when night came, all the bars and restaurants lit up all around the lake. It was really pretty. I got back to school around 10pm to find some of my friends hanging out, listening to music and enjoying themselves on the lawn in front of the International Centre. It was freezing, so I went to my room soon after.
Sunday was another surprisingly nice day. I went to BICF with the usual people and I finally got to go to Coldstone Creamery (I’ve been wanting to go ever since I saw it on the Travel Channel/Food Network, but there is no Coldstone in Jamaica). Then in the evening, I met up with 2 of my country mates and went to Qianmen which is very close to Tian’namen Square, then from Qianmen to Wangfujing Snack Street. Wangfujing has some really weird foods, usually on a stick and almost everything is fried. I got a little adventurous, but not too adventurous.
The rest of the week was a blur of the occassional staying in bed, studying, doing homework, going to restaurants, going to the market, celebrating Tula’s birthday, then yesterday, we went to the Great Wall. I went to the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall, one of the sections that has been renovated. It has stairs going up to the Great Wall. If there were no stairs and I really had to hike, I probably would have turned back. But the strenuous climb was worth it.
All-in-all, it was a good week.