RSS Feed

Tag Archives: pollution

January Travels – Part 1

Posted on

Monday 18th January 2016, ~5:30pm

I have been travelling for a whole week now, and man, is it tiring.

I find myself on yet another train in China (this time, a nice high-speed one) bound for Guilin.

I left Shanghai last Sunday morning on a flight to Beijing, where I met Nafeesah who made her way up from Nanjing. We spent the afternoon wandering around the area we called home about three years ago, when we studied abroad at Beijing Normal University. Though there were some differences, it was a strange feeling walking around knowing where I was going in a place so far away from home and familiarity. I happily discovered one of the local jianbing makers was still there, and satisfied my craving for one of those eggy, crunchy, tasty snacks, but the day was miserably grey, gloomy and dull, giving me the feeling that the university was a ghost town. The whole afternoon was, overall, rather unpleasant, and confused me slightly as to what I had missed this place for!

Delicious Beijing jianbing!

Delicious Beijing jianbing!

Luckily, I met an old friend for dinner, which was lovely, brightening my evening and pretty much redeeming the day that had thus far been pretty miserable.

The next day was the Great Wall. I felt unsatisfied by my first visit three years ago to the most popular section of the Wall, Badaling, and wanted to visit a different section, bringing us to Mutianyu, a ~2hour journey from Beijing. In total contrast to the previous day, we got a bright sun and beautiful blue skies – a rarity for Beijing with its usually high pollution levels. The temperature remained below 0°C though.
Despite being semi-scammed on our way there, I was amused by our taxi-driver, whose response to the pollution problem was “Oh that’s nothing to worry about, the government is sorting that out right away!” – showing his innocent faith in the government.
Surprisingly, it was less cold once we were actually up on the Wall, but nevertheless, still cold, and very steep. Due to the time of year, there was little greenery, and even fewer visitors. This emptiness atop the Wall gave us some excellent picture opportunities, and luckily it was a wonderfully clear day, so visibility was high 🙂

My Wall

My Wall

IMG_20160111_123715 IMG_20160111_125114 IMG_20160111_132538

 

On Tuesday we visited Jingshan Park and Beihai Park, both very central, where we enjoyed scenic romantic walks through the parks, past pagodas, frozen lakes and over bridges. I also witnessed possibly my first real proper sunset in China.

View of the Forbidden City obscured somewhat by the trees...

View of the Forbidden City obscured somewhat by the trees…

Middle of Beijing

Middle of Beijing

 

Having fun in the cold

Having fun in the cold

IMG_20160112_152447

Frozen lakes: ice skating and sleighs

Frozen lakes: ice skating and sleighs

My first beautiful sunset in China

Catching some sun in below freezing temperatures :p

On Wednesday morning we left Beijing (and left China), on a flight to Macau. (Macau is not part of Mainland China).

Departing for Macau

Departing for Macau

To be continued…

Advertisements

China: A day in the life

Sunday 13th December, 10:25pm

A few random unrelated tid-bits to talk about:

MSG ( 味精)

It’s added to food in almost all Chinese places you will eat at. I was vaguely aware of this during my year abroad in Beijing, but had conveniently forgotten until recently. I asked one of the local halaal places I eat at often whether or not they put MSG in their food, and they said yes, so now I will be asking them not to everytime I order. I don’t know much about it or the health effects, but I’m aware that too much of it is harmful, just the same as too much of anything I suppose. However, since the lack of cooking facilities in my dormitory means that I’m never eating food I’ve cooked myself, I definitely do not want to be consuming too much of it.

 

Fake Markets

The name says it all: these markets sell fake designer everything, from watches, bags, purses and shoes, to suits, belts, sunglasses and clothing. Obviously it’s all illegal, but somehow they continue to exist, despite authorities’ knowledge – naturally. It’s a tourist trap, and if you don’t know how to haggle with the often rude and vicious sellers, you will undoubtedly get scammed big-time. On a recent visit, I was surprised when one of the sellers I was bargaining with actually openly admitted the illegality to me, using the line “it’s very dangerous” as a comeback to my attempts to lower the price. Even though everyone knows it, I didn’t expect him to be so candid with me, and I tried to prod him some more about it, but no luck. I understand it was also just a bargaining tactic, but I was still taken aback somewhat.

One of the most annoying things about these markets though is all the name-calling. You will be called ‘bag’, ‘jeans’, ‘shoes’, ‘watch’, ‘tea’, and many more during a visit. This is because none of the store-owners know how to pause when they try and entice you to go and take a look. “Hello watch!”, “Hello how are you bag?”, and “Hello lady tea” are just a few examples. I also don’t think they realise how rude their tone is; it’s very abrupt and not friendly in the slightest. Even if I was looking to buy whatever they’re selling, I am extremely put off from going in. There’s no shortage of choice though; every clothing store sells the same goods, the shoes in every shoe store are the same, the belts, ties and bags among different stores are all exactly the same too. So if you’re looking for jeans and you’re not satisfied with the service or price, just walk out and go next door.

 

Pollution

Everyone knows the pollution in Beijing is horrible. Yes, they recently announced a red alert, and yes, ‘each hour of exposure reduces life expectancy by 20minutes’, and yes, ‘Beijing air is the same as smoking 40 cigarettes per day’. But with all the focus on Beijing, it seems we forget that it’s no picnic here in Shanghai either. To put it in perspective, the upper limit for healthy levels of pollution in much of Europe are around 10-20 AQI. On a regular day in Shanghai, we’re experiencing anywhere between 60 to 100. And on a bad day, it could be over 300.

A very good day (for visibility, but the pollution is ever-present)

A very good day (for visibility, but the pollution is ever-present)

WeChat

I first started using WeChat in 2012, after arriving in Beijing for my year abroad. I was relatively new to the smartphone world in general, but even then, I quickly came to know that I preferred WhatsApp by faaaar. In comparison, WeChat seemed slower and the interface seemed chunky – nothing at all like the sleeker and smoother WhatsApp. The most popular social media messaging platform back then was QQ, as WeChat was still relatively new. When meeting new people, QQ numbers would be exchanged, as everyone had QQ, but not everyone was on WeChat yet.

Almost five years later, WeChat’s evolution is evidently clear – it has come an incredibly long way, and is no longer just a basic messaging app. Aside from the ‘Discover’ page, where friends can post pictures or updates on something similar to a microblog, WeChat now has so many other features, including ‘stickers’ (so much fun, not even joking), voice and video calling, and WeChat Wallet. WeChat Wallet allows you to receive money from contacts, with which you can make transfers, top up your mobile phone credit, pay utility bills and order taxis. You can also link your bank card to your WeChat, allowing you access to a greater pool of funds. It is almost imperative to have a WeChat account in order to integrate fully into daily life in China. Now, you’ll rarely – if ever, hear people asking for QQ numbers, but everyone has WeChat, and I’ve grown to love what it has matured into.

 

Studying Chinese: FAQs

Posted on

1. Why did you choose Chinese?

Sometimes I think I’m only asked this because my course choice is unexpected for a person of my colour, religion, race, culture, all of that. I’m almost certain I would not have been questioned at all had I been studying medicine, pharmacy, optometry or dentistry, or straight Economics. Depending on who I’m talking to, I usually have to repeat my degree title, because they’re not sure they heard correctly.

My answer really isn’t all that special. I really enjoy languages – and aren’t we always told that we should study something we enjoy? I decided to study Chinese because it was new to me – a language with which I had zero previous experience. The fact that it is also the most commonly spoken language on our planet possibly helped that decision, as well as encouraging me to study Economics alongside it.

2. How was China??

It was great. Indescribably so.

No, but seriously – I still need to come up with the perfect one-liner to answer this EXTREMELY broad question. I know I’ve already ranted about this, and I know it is only asked good-naturedly, but it can get hella annoying.

3. Wow, so are you fluent in Chinese?

This one always gets me. I’ve thought about it a lot but I think I’ve found an answer. The first step was defining ‘fluency’ in my own terms. For a language student, attaining ‘fluency’ at a native level is incredibly difficult, if not near impossible.

After exchanging greetings with my neighbours when in I was in China, they would often ask if I speak Chinese. I would always smile and reply ‘yes, a little’. My answer stayed that way for a long time, even when I was having full conversations in Chinese. It took me a few months to realise what I was doing, and that prompted me to question why I answered as such. It was difficult though – at what level does my Chinese have to be until I can just reply with ‘yes’?

That’s where my definition of fluency comes in. To me, fluency means being able to say pretty much whatever you want to, even if you don’t know all the correct terminology. For example, I may not know how to say ‘unemployment’, but I can express the same thing by saying ‘people without jobs’. Or I may not know how to say ‘fructose’, but I can refer to it as ‘the sugar in fruit’.

In this way, you can still make yourself understood, even without the same extensive vocabulary possessed by native speakers.

4. Is your course mostly full of Chinese people?

Sorry, but I don’t even understand the logic behind this question. I am studying the Chinese language as a foreigner. How on earth would it a) make sense to put total beginners and native speakers in the same classes?, b) be fair to test them in the same way as learners?, and c) be worthwhile for a native speaker to sit in classes well below their knowledge and ability??

In short, no – my course is not mostly full of Chinese people. It’s full of people, who, just like me had little or no previous knowledge of Mandarin and chose to take it up as a totally new language.

5. Would you want to go back to China?

Without a doubt, YES. I definitely want to go back – for the food, the cost of living, and the opportunities – for work, for travel, for language practice. But there’s a caveat. I don’t want to live there permanently. The absence of family, the lack of a supportive and tight-knit community, …the pollution.

Who knows, though? Times are changing…

Xinjiang: Urumqi, Day 1

Posted on

It’s been a while since I posted. Again. As mentioned in my last post, my laptop has been totally unusable from a few days after final exams finished, then I was off travelling, and then the last week in China was pretty hectic anyway. Yes, I’m now back in London, but I can still say that I was in Beijing last week! That’s something, right?! I arrived back last Friday evening, and… I already miss China. It feels very surreal (still), and I have this feeling like I’m still supposed to be going back. I can’t be staying here, like, permanently now,  can I…?

Don’t get me wrong, London is an amazing place to live and I love it (don’t talk to me about prices, don’t talk to me about prices, don’t talk to me about prices….) but my year abroad in China has been full of so many amazing (and some less so amazing) experiences and I am 100% glad I did it. No regrets whatsoever. More of that later, maybe. But for now, I’m gonna go back almost a month to the 11th of June – the start of my travels to China’s far West: Xinjiang.

During our travels, I wrote the old-fashioned way, on paper – so here goes typing it up and inserting pictures, of which there are many!

Arrival in Urumqi

After landing at the airport in Urumqi, one of the first things I noticed that I thought was pretty cool was seeing signs in Chinese, Uyghur AND English.

Good English, as usual…

We made it onto a shuttle bus into the city, on which the only seats remaining were one right at the back squashed between luggage and the men to which the luggage belonged, and one seat up at the front next to the driver. Coordinating where we should get off wasn’t made any easier this way, shouting across the minibus, earning us stares from the other passengers. Nevertheless, by the time we got off somewhere on the road our hotel was on, both Beth and I already loved the city. Unfortunately, local buses still confused us, after getting on two that didn’t get us to the right place, we took a taxi…which drove about 2 minutes back up the road, and dropped us off opposite our hotel.

After dropping our stuff, we decided to go to one of the city’s main parks which wasn’t too far from us, Hongshan Park (Red mountain park), named for a red pagoda at the top of a hill inside the park. As soon as we left the hotel and made to cross the road, Beth grabbed my arm and shouted “CAKES!” and started pulling me towards a little shop she’d noticed just a couple of doors away from our hotel. Of all the little bakeries and similar places I’ve seen in China (mostly Beijing) this one was by far the best…it could win on one factor alone: It was clean.

DSCF2528

The fact that the cakes/biscuits were tasty and looked delicious was just a bonus 🙂

IMG_20130613_104732

IMG_20130613_104722

IMG_20130613_104702

We bought a few each, sat down and ate, at which point I counted all the different baked goods on sale and panicked when I reached 30, realising that would mean eating 10 a day if I wanted to try them all before we left Urumqi. Yeah…they were that good.

This little bakery was where we learnt our first word of Uyghur: Thank you – which is pronounced ‘rahmet’.

As we were entering the park, we saw a guy selling yoghurt…and decided to buy some. We realised that if we wanted to keep eating this way, we might as well forget set mealtimes. Who needs mealtimes anyway, when you have so much to choose from all the time… and so little time to actually choose?

i

A cooling yoghurt snack/drink

He filled cups with cold yoghurt out of his mobile fridge, added sugar and nuts on top, and only half-smiled when we said ‘rahmet’. But when we asked if he could tell us how to say ‘tasty’ in Uyghur, he smiled more and replied: I don’t know, I’m not Uyghur, I’m Hui.
Oops.

Hongshan Park is lovely: white picket fences, plenty of shady greenery, a bit of a fairground inside, including but not limited to a ferris wheel, from the top of which we had a (clear, unpolluted!!) view of most of the city. From the top of the hill where the pagoda stood, there was this sign on a railing, beyond which was a rocky drop down to the main road…

DSCF2537

Beyond the railing

The sign on the railing

The sign on the railing

I don’t think anyone who wanted to cherish their life would willingly try to cross that road…from up there.

On another part of the railing, there were countless padlocks crammed onto any free space, engraved (scratched, to be more accurate) with the names of friends or couples… Beth correctly pointed out the romance in what the padlocks symbolised in terms of relationships.

After the park, we tried to find the well known International Bazaar because the hotel reception desk had told us that the Wuyi Night Market (famous for its many different food stalls) had closed down, something we  had not come across in our research. We found another small bakery on the way to the bazaar, got caught in a torrential downpour and incredible winds that pretty much forced us back inside the shops, which were selling headscarves and abayas! That’s not what you think of when someone says China, right?

And what about this scene? (The picture doesn’t do it justice, take my word for it: it was beautiful!)

Beautiful scene

Beautiful twilight scene

The stormy weather meant that we found a little underground market, but didn’t find the actual International Bazaar. I went into a mosque to pray, the first time I’d done that in a long time. Trying to avoid the storm meant that it had become quite late by the time we got back to the hotel. Lots of places started closing what we thought was quite early, but maybe this was because of the weather, rather than the time?

By the end of Day 1, or even halfway through the day, Beth and I have both already decided that we are coming back to this city. That’s gotta say something about the place.

Beth’s input
“I want to live here forever. I want to get a padlock and go with my hypothetical boyfriend to lock the padlock onto the railings in Hongshan Park and then go back after I’m married to find it. And therefore I have to live in Urumqi when I’m older!”

Good logic there.

Attempting to describe Urumqi, I’d say it’s definitely much greener than expected, we both expected barren deserts or something, it’s definitely much greener than Beijjng, there are way less people, it’s hilly (Xinjiang is a mountainous region) and the air is fresher! There are less people smoking, less dogs (in fact, I can hardly remember seeing any today), no spitting spotted yet, and there are dessert places! Yum! Urumqi is a city with a totally different look to any of the other Chinese cities I’ve visited.

Nuts, raisins, chocolates – clean and tidy!

A painted electricity box, showing a woman holding Xinjiang’s famous ‘nang’ (naan)

It’s a lovely city with a friendly vibe, beautiful weather, a bustling lifestyle and plenty of small cake shops to satisfy those sweet cravings 🙂

Bakery no. 2!

The start of the Summer holidays

Posted on

And so it begins…

The Summer holidays. With which comes the end of my year abroad.

Okay, not quite yet, but the end is in sight!!

My exams (which started on Wednesday) finished on Thursday, bringing me to the end of my academic year abroad. I’m basically finished! Our visas don’t run out until the end of June however, and as mentioned previously, I will be flying to Xinjiang on Tuesday and spend a bit of time travelling in the region. The plan is to spend a few days in the capital city, Urumqi, then take a 2.5hour train to Turpan, a city famous for its grapes, where we’ll stay a couple of days, and finally a 6hour train to Hami, famous for its melons. (‘Hami’ 哈密 is actually the same as the name for honeydew melons – hami gua 哈密瓜). Fruit seems to be a recurring theme, yes. Although we’ve booked hostels, we’ve yet to book our train tickets, because of the system in China, which means that you can only buy your train tickets 10 days before the date. And we didn’t have the time for that before exams.

Xinjiang: Locations of Urumqi, Turpan, and Hami

We’ve also been spending a fair bit of time trying to properly research and plan out our trip. In Urumqi’s vicinity are the Tianshan Mountains, and the Heavenly Lake, which does look rather heavenly in pictures we’ve seen online, but hopefully I’ll be putting up some of my own pictures soon! This is supposedly the ideal place where you can get a break from the stifling heat, with its clean and cool air, refreshing water and…. I can’t concentrate, this just sounds so HEAVENLY compared to the greyish yellowish whitish scene I could see out of my window for the whole day today. And for the last three days. It looks like a sheet has been hung over the outside of the window, for all the visibility out there.
Anyway, back to the Heavenly Lake at the Tianshan Mountains, you can also spend a night out there in a traditional Kazakh yurt. When am I ever going to be able to do that?! I really hope we can make this happen!

Plus! This time next week, I will be able to say (hopefully, fingers crossed, touch wood, etc etc) that I have been at the CENTRE OF ASIA. The very middle of the enormous continent that is Asia. It sounds much better in Chinese: 亚洲之心 (yazhou zhi xin) which translates to “The Heart of Asia”. Wow. I was impressed. And if you’re not impressed, it’s only because you must be jealous! In all fairness, there’s nothing actually there, except for a very..fanciful…marker, which probably tells you that you’re standing in the centre of Asia (now doesn’t that sound cool?!), and there’s probably nothing to do but take a picture, and then…well, leave. But either way, I’m excited for it!!

More in Urumqi includes the Food Night Market (Hell, yeah!!) and the Tianshan Grand Canyon.

According to Lonely Planet’s guide book, Turpan is the Death Valley of China. Now, I’ve been to the real Death Valley, and boy, that was hot! I guess it’s lucky that there’ll be no shortage of juicy grapes in Turpan to keep us cool and hydrated…? >_<
In Turpan, apart from the Grape Valleys, we can ride camels along the Flaming Mountains (this all sounds so surreal!), and see ancient cities of pre-Islamic civilisations.

Hami is going to be even more scenic, we can go to another part of the Tianshan Mountains again, if our visit there from Urumqi was so amazing that we want more, ride horses around what I expect to be another beautiful lake, we can go to the Grand White Rock (what a name…), as well as eat lots of melons and absorb a completely different kind of culture than the standard Han Chinese one that we’ve become accustomed to all year.

I didn’t mean to write so much about this trip that hasn’t happened yet… I expect I’ll be repeating a lot of this when it actually happens, but well, I got carried away….

From Hami, we’ll get a 27 hour sleeper train back to Beijing – I already know this is most likely going to be extremely unpleasant, but whatever – I’m all for ‘experiences’! I’ll be spending my final week in Beijing, packing up this one year of my life here, before returning to the UK, with my mother who will have come out pretty much as soon as I return to Beijing. It’s all gonna happen so fast!!

In the meantime, I wish I could say I’ve been truly making the absolute most of these few free days in Beijing, and regale you with exciting stories of final Beijing experiences, but in all honesty, there’s been a fair bit to do! Chilling has been on the list too, I won’t lie (some things can’t be helped), but researching for this trip has been and still is an arduous task. It’s not as ‘out there’ on the internet yet in terms of tourist destinations as a lot of well-known places are. We can’t find out everything before we go, so I’m certain a lot of it will be made up on the go, but that’s all gonna be part of the fun!

Not to mention, the weather here has been absolutely appalling lately. The smog/pollution is the worst I think I’ve seen it all year. A friend of mine has a theory that goes a bit like this… Because the government will want to ensure glorious weather for the national holiday next week (the Dragonboat Festival, which falls between the 10th and the 12th of June this year), they have to temporarily pause whatever weather/pollution controls and measures that are in place, for a few days prior, so that they will be more effective when they bring them out again for the national holiday. This, according to a friend, is why the pollution has been worse over the last few days. I guess we’ll see if there’s any truth to this when I look out of the window on Monday morning…

Tomorrow is our Leaving Ceremony at uni, and if the Opening Ceremony was anything to go by, it’s going to be an extremely boring couple of hours of speeches. Lots of SOASians aren’t going, but I figure I might as well. I’m only gonna have one Leaving Ceremony in China, so, why not? Boring as it might be, I won’t know if I don’t go 🙂 My class is also planning on going out for lunch after, and it’s the last time I’ll see most of them ever again!

Finally, I’d like to share something that I’ve found, which actually stemmed from a real conversation I was having with Beth about all the delicious food there’s gonna be in Xinjiang, including kebabs, nang (the Chinese word for what we call ‘naan’, because it’s not actually a Chinese food, but has come from Central Asia, and is found around China in the Muslim restaurants only), yogurt, and some good old pilau rice. I was saying that we should make a map of China using foods to represent areas, so Xinjiang could start out as a whole big nang, and we’d add in other foods at different cities in it, Beijing could be…well, the obvious choice would be roast duck, but I/we wanted it to be personal, something we’d experienced for ourselves and could relate to. Beth pointed out that this probably already existed (breaking my heart in the process), and sure enough…

Amazing grilled lamb kebabs, you say?! I’m so there.

This isn’t exactly what I had in mind though (but nice enough anyhow), so maybe I’ll still make my own one after all, but it’s a taster 🙂
Hmm, I’ll be tasting some o’ those kebabs pretty soon….
*mouth waters*

Shades of grey

Posted on

There is a huge thunderstorm raging outside right now. It’s pouring down with rain, and the sky keeps flashing completely white all over, like I’ve never seen. And then even though you know you should expect it, the thunder is still a huge shock when it comes after a lengthy pause.

The sky today has been, quite literally, varying shades of grey. Earlier I said that it was kinda yellow. That was pretty early in the morning, but by midday it had completely grey-ed out.

In other parts of the city, it was apparently dark at midday. This doesn’t surprise me one bit, it was so grey, it felt like the kind of sky you see BEFORE the sun rises. You can see some beautiful(!) pictures of Beijing, completely dark, at noon, here. It’s weird because, the pollution level, while bad, isn’t as bad as it’s been at some times earlier this year. At around 10pm here, the night sky was a deep strange shade of purple, but now (midnight), although it’s obviously dark, it’s so smoggy that you can see pretty much see how the greyness of the smog is clogging up the skyline. I don’t think my words describe it well enough, take my word for it: it’s really disgusting.

Tomorrow is the first, and penultimate, day of exams. Our exams here start and end really quickly. Just to bring up something I’ve mentioned possibly a few times before… In our final class on Monday, we asked our teacher where her exam was to be held on Wednesday.

“Ooohhhh, I don’t know!”

….

Well, when are you going to be able to tell us!?!? Gahh, it’s enraging.
It’s fine that they’re usually in random buildings all over campus that we’ve never had reason to go to before (or find out where they are) but honestly, we need to know!!! And preferably, BEFORE the exam?!!?! Is that really too much to ask? -_-

*HUGE FLASH*

As I was saying, it seems that organisation of such things is really last-minute here, or at least that communication is extremely slow.

*Triple flash*

To give her some credit, even she was a bit embarrassed that she didn’t know herself, and muttered to herself a few times, more for our benefit really, than for her own: How is it that even don’t know…?

*Thuuuuuuuuuuunder*

So we got an email earlier today from her, with the times and locations of our exams for the following two days.

*Thunder thunder thunder*

Well, thank you. It’s comforting to be told the day before where I’m supposed to be going to sit my final exams in less than TWENTY FOUR hours!

It was amusing to see that I also received my draft timetable for uni next year!

*Flaaasssshhhhh*

Skies, sirens and Summer!

Posted on

I’m sitting here, pretending to revise for an exam tomorrow, and looking out the window at the sky.

It’s a strange colour.

A disgusting colour in between yellow and grey.

Apparently this is what you get when you cross Mongolian sandstorms with Beijing pollution.

It is a sight extremely off-putting. If I could take a picture that would accurately depict it to you all, I would, but alas. It’s probably for the best anyway, the weather wherever you’re reading this from is definitely better, no competition.

In other news, earlier today we heard a lot of sirens. This might sound like a completely normal (but of course, unfortunate) occurrence to most of you, but it took us a while to register that those indeed were sirens we were hearing. This was unusual. Extremely unusual. I can safely say I can count on one hand the number of times I have heard sirens here. Wait… make that, ‘ on one finger’. I have NEVER seen any flashing lights here, not a police car, not an ambulance, not a fire brigade, let alone hear them often. So it turns out, the sirens apparently only get used for official government business, or something. I wish I knew more to tell you, but I don’t. The reason however is probably linked to the fact that today is the anniversary of the Tian’anmen Square massacre. Contradictory, to this article, my internet is not acting up today….

However, yesterday was the deadline for our SOAS research project, and in true China style, our internet totally died on us on Saturday night! Since we had to renew our internet sometime in December, it’s been doing this occasionally, and each time we just unplug everything and restart the router. (We clearly know a lot about techie stuff…but to be fair, when it happened the first time, we called the internet company guy, he came round and did exactly that, which is where we learnt from..) Sometimes, it takes a few tries before we’re able to resurrect it, but this time, after multiple restarts (and multiple hours) and still no luck, we did what we could sans-Internet, hoping it’d be back Sunday morning. Of course not. Luckily, a few friends live really close by, the closest being across the road from me, so I went and camped out there to steal her internet, finish my project and send it off. Phew. Our internet really knows how to pick the perfect time to strike.
It’s all fixed now, obviously.

In yet other news, I had my last class at uni in Beijing EVER on Monday. It also so happened to be that annual day where you must add one to your age, which obviously called for… PARTY!!! Obviously. Naahhhh….. Bang in the middle of final exams, and essay deadlines, perfect timing! But soon to all be over! As much as I’m looking forward to finishing uni this year, being done with exams, and going back to enjoy the amazing place that London is, I’m starting to really notice the little things I’ll miss about Beijing. The pollution is definitely not one of them.

And oh my God, this time next week, I’ll be in Urumqi, Xinjiang!! Bring on the Summer holiday!