I'm pretty certain I've started, filled or ended almost every post in the past couple months with a comment about how work has interfered with my blogging. I've been busy, people! :)
Usually, I don't have much to show for my work. I mean, I guess I could post a picture of an excel spreadsheet or a video of me on a conference call, but I can't imagine that would be very interesting to you.
This time, however, I do! I have something to share! I was in Beijing last week. And I have pictures!
Shortly after arriving, we went out in Houhai - as far as I could surmise, it's a fairly large lake surrounded entirely by bars. I've never seen so many lounge acts in one spot and in such close proximity!
Most of the bars were pretty tiny, but this one was impressive enough to share. So authentically decorated and, well, then again, so...not. Something tells me this area is not intended for the native Chinese.
The next day we did a quick tour of the Forbidden City before our meetings started in the afternoon. I'm so glad we did. Without that visit, I would have felt silly to fly so far for a couple meetings (except for the whole part where that's my job).
We started out in Tian'AnMen Square, where the military guys are the most serious (and the most fun to photograph).
And we were incredibly lucky to have blue skies. Yep. Blue sky. In Beijing. Wow.
After walking through Tian'AnMen Gate (the entrance across from the square) and before formally entering the Forbidden City itself, there are a ton of Chinese military trainees practicing, um, stuff. Some of the guys are more impressive than others.
The Forbidden City itself is beautiful. And HUGE. After a while, it looks like you're seeing the same buildings over and over again, but it's still beautiful.
I was particularly enamored with the roofs. So lovely.
Oh, and apparently my reddish brown/blond hair, blue/green eyes and fair skin are fascinating to Chinese people. I was stared at a lot, especially when we encountered groups of Chinese tourists (from outside Beijing). My colleague pointed out to me that this guy was staring at me. And he was staring at me intensely. Even when I looked directly at him, he did not avert his stare. Not even a little. He was fascinated with me. When my colleague stood next to me, this man gave him a thumbs up.
So my colleague did what anyone would do. He told this guy to pose for a picture with me. And this man invited his wife to join us. It wasn't as weird as it sounds.
It was weirder.
There was a lot of touching my hair and my skin and staring to confirm I was human, I suppose. Anyway, here are my tormentors, er, new friends.
It's nice to be home.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Bronze vats, which were filled with water historically and used as fire extinguishers, were throughout the Forbidden City