Day 173 - Bye, Beijing

Friday, July 29th, 2016
150 AQI

Offensive Rays

A kid burst out from an open store doorways, beaming at me. I shielded my eyes from this optic onslaught and fought through his smiling façade, holding on to the hope that the gym's air conditioning would have rejuvenating properties.

It’s true, what Alex said yesterday. There are new girls behind the desk. She seemed amused by a foreigner, unlike the one training her. Back home and plus 10 minutes, I’m packed and out the door. Shimou and I are heading to the Giant Bank in central Beijing to transfer our money. 

It’s 4:15 and they say the wait is 1.5 hours, which clearly clashes with out 5:30 dinner plans with Shimou’s Mom and Step-pop. Guess we’ll have to bite the bullet on conversion fees at the airport. Bitches.

Dinner with Shimou's Parents

Little Stowaway
Dinner was... good. I didn’t understand much of it, and froze under pressure of speaking Chinese with Shimou’s mom. She asked me how something was, and I wanted to say “it’s ok” but froze and started confusing all the similar sounding words, muttering something nonsensical and eventually arriving at the phrase I wanted. Hái xíng. Shimou thinks her dad is still mad at her for not having converted the money earlier in the week; we gloss over the fact that the bank didn’t actually convert anything. Technically, we still went there. Let's focus on the positive, shall we?

Back at her parents place, Shimou spends a while packing, and her Step-Father was playing games in their room, leaving me with her mom in the living room. Somehow, I was able to bring my Mandarin to a boil and keep it rolling. We talked about travel, fruit, China, Canada’s population, Trump. Lastly, we talked about exercise. She and her husband spend 3 hours a day doing activities: 1.5h on ping pong, and 1.5h on working out. She noted that I look like I lost weight, and encourage Shimou to do the same. “Take her for a fast walk, 1 hour each day" I was advised. Some of the characteristic Chinese overfamiliarity came out with some of the judgments... making me awkward laugh my way through the situation.

Uber is Illegal

After a quick call to my parents, we caught an uber to the airport. He dropped us off in a parking garage because he was hoping the cops wouldn’t pinch him. This is when I learned that Uber is actually illegal in China.

In the Beijing Airport
The money changing desk was super frustratingly slow, having only one trainee and two people to stand over his shoulder and do nothing. Communism. They are inopportunely located outside of the security check, meaning we had to do it before clearing all the more pressing, time-consuming hurdles.

They were more dickish at the airport than usual, but we made it through unscathed and onto the flight with very little time to linger around in between.

It’s a red eye international, equals cheap, and, hey, food. Only a 3 hour flight, they didn’t finish serving food until 2 hours in, meaning we only got about a half hour of sleep before landing in Haneda Airport, Tokyo.

Words of the Day
English - Mandarin [pronunciation]
fēi jī
[fay jee]
(fēi) jī cháng
[(fay) jee ch-ahng]

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