Just as everyone headed back to work after the Mid-Autumn Fall Festival, China once again slows down to celebrate yet another, more important holiday. On October 1st, the People’s Republic of China celebrated its’ 61st birthday. Across the mainland and in Hong Kong, firework displays and parades were held to honor the PRC. Flags were raised high in front of stores, houses and national monuments across Beijing. Bright red spread throughout this country and the pride and love for China could be seen from miles away.
My original plan for this one week vacation was to take a trip down to Fuzhou with some friends, but due to some passport issues, I, along with two others had to cancel our trip at the last minute. As disappointing as this news may be, I knew there was still a whole other side of the city I have yet to explore here. How many times will I be able to say I was stuck in Beijing during break?
Before we departed ways, some of us grabbed a bite to eat at a popular fast food restaurant called Xia Bu Xia Bu. Yes, I said it, I went to a fast food restaurant. In China. As much as I hate to admit it, my distaste for anything fast food related (except Chipotle) has come to a sudden halt after being xia bu-dified. I mean, c’mon, look at this! This should be classified as a five star dining experience!
Lets not forget the amazing peanut butter and sesame oil dipping sauce for our hot pot accessories! This is almost as good as Siracha sauce…almost.
Unfortunately, I was forbidden to take any pictures inside this restaurant, so I was only able to sneak a couple at the beginning of our meal. What can I say, I live on the edge. The server probably thought I was an American spy of some sort, trying to steal the recipe for their peanut sesame sauce. Oh the horror of what that would do to China!
On Friday night, I decided to take my bike out for a ride around the city.
With no map, compass, or sense of direction, I rode for hours to my heart’s content. This may have been the only time when feeling lost wasn’t accompanied with near panic attacks and queasiness in my stomach. I pedaled to unfamiliar territories, awing at the buildings, the bridges, and the beaming lights flying by. In case you didn’t know, I’m a profesh bicyclist now, like Lance Armstrong on steroids….
Just kidding, that’s just a bus. I, on the other hand, accidentally ran into another person’s bike who was in front of me that night. Luckily, no harm done. He gave me the evil eye until he had to turn, then proceeded to stare me down until I was out of sight. Like I said before, WARNING: STUDENT BIKER.
Thirty minutes into my bike ride, I found myself inside the Olympic park. This is probably the only time where it wasn’t flooded with tourists’ trying to catch a glimpse of the Olympic stadium…
By this time, it was already almost 11 o’clock, so most of the lights were turned off except for a few lamps here and there.
It was so quiet, I could hear my own breathing. Not even in my bedroom can I get this kind of silence. Every 5 minutes, I would hear someone screaming at the top of their lungs outside my window for recycled bottles. So if you ever hear someone on a bike screaming like there’s no tomorrow…they just want your recycled goods. GO GREEN!
It’s comforting to know that a moments silence is only a bike ride away. No matter how hectic life is, we are always able to find that one place where we can live only in the present. Our past and our unknown futures dissipate into thin air and for a short while, we are able to swim in our own imaginations.
When I move back to the states, I will definitely be moving to a biker-friendly city.