Friday, October 08, 2010

Back in town

After a long trip (no extra leg-room on the flight from Doha to Beijing and so I had to stand up for most of the seven and a half hour trip) I arrived, heavy eyed, but excited to be back in Beijing. I was greeted with the heavy smog of a city of 14 million, and the smell and noise to match. Taking the bus from the airport to Zhongguang Cun and walking into the Chinese Academy of Sciences campus felt wonderfully familiar, even though it was the end of the national holiday when I arrived and so the place was deserted.

I took my key from the porter and made my way back to the same building that I lived for two years here, arriving fresh faced from my PhD five years ago. Nothing has changed, the jaozi stands are still there. The copy shops and the hordes of people playing games remain, the grandmothers taking babies for walks in split bottomed trousers (the babies, not grandmothers) are still as numerous as ever, the men, old and young hacking up big spots of phlegm on the sidewalk remain to keep the pavement from drying up, the smart shoed fruit salesmen still talk noisily on their cell phones and in the tennis courts next to my place there is still a group of people practicing tai qi though I have to see if the sword wielding grandmothers still come out in the early morning.

I'd been rather worried that I'd come back to find a post Olympic sanitised version of the city, but thankfully it's the old Beijing that I know and love - the buildings change, but the underlying feeling is exactly the same.

I'll be here for the next two months and I have to say, though I know from past experience that the stresses and chaos all get too much after a while, I'm enormously happy to be back!

3 comments:

cvj said...

:)

-cvj

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이야니 said...

are you nurmerously happy?
haha
english makes block between you and me?