Tanks in the streets

The last few days have been a lot of fun. Well, aside from trouble trying to drop a class I can’t be in but missed the deadline to drop. I have gotten mostly better from being sick after sleeping for the better part of 48 hours, so we went out yesterday.
First we went to the English Corner, which apparently are designated spots that at certain times become gathering spots for people who want to speak or learn to speak English. If I ever feel lonely I know where I’m going now – within five minutes of entering the corner I was surrounded by a dozen Chinese asking me every question under the sun, from my thoughts on Obama’s health care to whether Americans really act like they do on Friends to how many famous Chinese people I can name. They were probably most excited when I told them I made my own beer (they were amazed at how much American college age people drink, but to be fair Asians can’t handle alcohol like we can haha) and were interrogating me on what goes in beer and how to make it. They were thrilled to have a native fluent speaker and were very curious about everything, I felt like such a celebrity. I made a couple new friends that I am in email contact with now, so maybe I’ll have people I can have show me the best of Beijing. I may have made a mistake because I exchanged email with one charming nursing student but as soon as I wrote mine down the other dozen people in the circle whipped out their cell phones and took pictures of it so they could email me too. I already had three letters waiting for me when I checked this morning! One of my favorites was an adorable little boy who had rehearsed questions for me like what my favorite color was. I wish I had gotten a picture with him!
Afterwards we went to Sanlitun, another bar district a little further away from us. It was not that great mostly because we got lost and no one could decide where we wanted to go and once we finally chose one called Club LA (they had a fake beach out front and inside were disco balls and bubble machines haha) it was so hot and crowded that we left pretty soon afterwards. On our way home though we were stopped by a police barrier and soon as we stopped in confusion about a mile of tanks drove past. It was so loud. I have never seen so many tanks in action in my life. It was another rehearsal for the National Day Parade (China will celebrate its 60th anniversary as the PRC on October 1st and will have a giant parade with military and weapons proudly displayed). It was definitely a little frightening, since it wasn’t my own country’s tanks driving down the street. I took a video on my phone (I’m so angry that I didn’t have my good camera but I never bring it clubbing!) but I can’t upload it still, so I will when I can.
Tonight I am headed to a rave on an aircraft carrier. It will be so crazy. We made a mad power shopping excursion this morning to try to find rave outfits, with minimal but decent success. The best part was probably finding the “Charlie Brown Café” which was pretty much wonderful. It even had Snoopy cakes. I found real coffee for the first time since I’ve arrived, which made my morning. We then found a mall which even had some clothes that fit me, so I found a neon yellow shirt and grey mini skirt to wear – not ideal but decent (don’t worry Hillary, I’ll take pictures for you!). It should be really fun. I am curious to see what the foreigner to Chinese ratio is, since most Chinese our age don’t really party, whereas some of us go out almost every night.
I’m in the process of getting tickets for the bullet train to Chingdao for the break we have in a couple weeks. My friend has been there before and says it’s one of her favorite places in China, and it has a beach. It might be a complete pain in the ass to travel in the break because it will be us and a billion peeps but hopefully we won’t have trouble getting there. It will be nice to see other places and get out of the giant city for a few days!
Well, the party buses are about to arrive. I promise to post pictures when I can!


4 Responses to “Tanks in the streets”

  1. HI JENN!!!!!! i miss you so much. :”'( i keep up with your blog all the time (p.s. i’m coming to visit you and we’re going to Club LA and the airline carrier rave is probably the coolest thing i’ve ever heard of. :D) but it’s just not as fun as fb and texting. oh, well- i love reading about your life and everything you see and do and experience. 🙂 i’m so happy for you!! wo ai ni so, so much, and we’ll skype as soon as i get back to eugene!!! ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ !!!

    • jenniferautumn Says:

      Katherine! Yayyy to hear from you. I miss you, and our texting and fb and everything else. Um, can we say skype and then ask why the hell you don’t use it ever? Gosh. I’m glad that you keep up with my blog though, it makes it worth the hour it takes to load my internet to post things knowing that people are actually reading it! I have so many pictures to show everyone, I wish I could upload them! You would be having so much fun here. AHHH good to hear from you. Keep commenting, it makes me happy. Teehee. <3<3<3<3<3

  2. Aunt Cecelia Says:

    I tried sending you a message on your regular e-mail address, but it was undelivered. I’ll try here — hope that you are feeling much better and can avoid the powerful cold medication. You are right, it is difficult to study and to be at a job when you do not feel well and the meds sneak up on you!

    What is “bubble tea?” And, how are the “mosquitoes?” Sounds like the Chinese are as interested in you and your culture, as you are about them.

    Fall is really coming to Colorado. We have had beautiful 80 degree days, however, tonight a cold front is pushing into Colorado to drop the temp by 25 degrees here, plus snow in the high country. Aspens in the mountains are already turning golden. Have a great week and study hard! Love, Aunt Cecelia and Uncle Nick

    • jenniferautumn Says:

      It’s great to hear from you Aunt Cecelia! I’m so jealous of the aspens and the cool weather, it was a tough decision to miss it this year. At least I’ll be back in time for snow!
      The Chinese are definitely very curious, everyone has so many questions. It’s difficult to come up with adequate answers to everything. I should have been more prepared with current events and Chinese people/politicians/artists/musicians/etc. I don’t think anyone in America asks so many questions!
      Bubble tea is great, it’s hard to describe though. The drink is “milk tea” though it’s not actually milk because they said there’s no dairy in it. It tastes kind of milky though, and usually it has a flavor of your choosing, like fruits or coffee or red bean. Then the part that makes it great is that there are large tapioca balls in the bottom (“boba”) that you suck up though a big straw while drinking. They are chewy and very strange at first, but you get hooked. We actually have some in the states now, a chain called Lollicup opened recently and they have it, and some more authentic and up to date Asian restaurants too. Maybe I’ll take you some time when I come back, if you’re up to it 🙂
      The mosquitoes (or whatever they are) seem to have mostly had their fill of me. I still get bites every couple days but no where near as bad as before. We will see if my luck continues there.
      Thanks for writing, I’m not sure why the email didn’t work, but I can get comments here and respond so it’s also a good way to communicate. It’s great to hear from you, it’s a shame that I will also miss the holidays that we usually see you guys on! Maybe I can come visit when I get back.
      Love, Jenn

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