Now back in Beijing after three fantastic weeks in the Philippines, Hong Kong and Macau. Had a perfect last day in HK two days ago where I chit-chatted (and bonded over laundry-crisis) with my awesome Japanese hostel roomie Yuki, and had brunch with Elizabeth and Tess from this year’s Sigtunes experience. Sweet pancakes to see them again! They are in that romantic phase of still being a small step away from adult reality; all decisions lay in front of them and the future is still more or less a blank page. I often reminisce of that phase of my own life (for example every single time I hear a Death Cab- song) and get warm and fuzzy inside when I think of the circumstances I enjoyed then. I realize now how incredibly lucky I was.
HK overwhealmed me. Beijing is bigger, of course, but to have that many people crammed up in such a very small space bewildered me to some extent. HK is also blatantly filthy RICH. I was having dinner with friends from home (Oskar S and Johanna W) one night in a district that must have had more laowais than Chinese people in it. I could hardly believe I was in China.
After three weeks of living in my suitcase (and one week of extreme laundry crisis. I had to buy a bucket and detergent and hang my clothes from the bunk bed above mine and from various curtain rods), I looked forward towards to coming home to my own dirty, real, rough Beijing. My flight was delayed by three hours due to snow at Beijing airport. ‘Winter, here we go again’ I thought. When I got to Beijng capital airport, the temperature was 25 degrees colder than in HK (-3), the smog-dome still lay over the city, the airport express had stopped operating for the night, the taxi- queue was 50 min long in the freezing cold, someone tried to offer me an illegal taxi for 250 Yuan (response: wo shi Beijing- ren, boo-keyi!) and the shuttle bus would leave in 30 min to the wrong part of town for me. Obviously, I had to sleep at the airport in ~10 degrees inside, because this laowai ain’t paying a nickle more than taxameter-price for a taxi, just because I’m white.
I could hear Beijing say to me: Welcome to Beijing, bitch.
I had to love it.