Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Email 2

1) Karaoke is serious business here in Beijing, complete with buffet style snacks/drinks (non-alcoholic) and percussion instruments (tambourines, etc) I wonder how to say "maracas" in Mandarin. I went with some 30 of my mom's friends-- these are people she hadn't seen for some 40 years. During the Cultural Revolution in China, she went to the Chinese countryside, as mandated by Mao, and ended up becoming intensely fast friends with her compadres- If you were to ask me to find a group of this many people 40 years from now.. I have to say, Im not sure that I could, reason being that there really isnt a bond as strong as that between those you have suffered physical exhaustion with. In America, possibly college friends would fit that description, but truly, it was moving to see all of them together.

1a) The Chinese lifestyle sometimes w
orries me. Karaoke is never done standing, much unlike the situation at my favorite K-Ok spot-- the Gaslite. After a large meal, people go to karaoke. And after that, they do some other sitting activity. It becomes kind of like the US where a certain group of people are quite sedentary out of economic mobility. It seems that the poor are really the ones whose bodies might benefit. There's so much food everywhere-- it sickens me to see all the KFCs and McDonalds. I'll think more about this one.

2) Last night my parents and I went to the RenMinDaHuiTang (The Great Hall of The People) for a concert. I've always appreciate
d Chinese folk music, but last night was more than wonderful, to be there with my parents. My dad has always been more of the music afficionado, between my parents, and it was such a lovely experience to witness him enjoying the performance.

3) I stuffed my face with about a pound of dumplings today. I made about 3, I ate about 30.

4) Went to the Olympics-made-famous Birds Nest and the Water Cube 2 nights ago- quite a sight.

5) Something heartbreaking: This morning on the bus I offered an old man my seat. I've written before about old people and buses, but today he said to me, that he felt badly about going out of the house, afraid of "tian ma fan" which basically means, "being a burden" Thought about it a good deal.

6) Something musically miraculous happened-- One of my favorite songs on the iPod shuffle-- Better Get Hit In Your Soul. Although its said to exude the mood and and mood swings of a Sunday Black Baptist Church service, it's always been my big city song, rumbling of cement pavements and traffic lights.. I was walking through Beijing and as the song was playing, a construction worker's hammer became a perfect metronome for the song. Incredible. My face probably glowed with delight.

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