Monday, September 15, 2014

Walkin the Wall

My roomies are Jamarco and Lucca - friends ftom Italy.  Last night we had a massive dinner together (Chinese Eggplant is awesome!) so they invited me to go see the Great Wall along with Roberto - a friend of theirs - and "some girl from France" who volunteered to join us. I'm going to post a couple of photos now as I'm falling asleep after massive banquet #2.

I am so far behind...

PRC blocks almost everything: Facebook, Twitter, EVERYTHING Google including this blog, New York Times, Donna's blog site (Wordpress), YouTube, Google Map!, so many others. And, can't set up a vpn from here.  So, I have not kept up this blog of wonderful adventures with great people from all over the world because (a) as always, it's hard and (b) now it's blocked until I land in Houdton in 6 days. I imagine thst I will write the blog in the air.

Leaving lots of stuff unsaid for now, I find myself alone in Beijing for the first time since I arrived. So I'm sitting in a restaurant waiting on my order.  No English inside, so I photographed the picture from outside and showed it to the waitress: "You want a beer with that?" she asked, to my amazement.

Two days later (now 9/11) I'm taking a day off, sitting in a Starbucks relaxing.  But for Skype, I'd be incommunicado here in PRC.

Beijing is great, but they must clean up their air pollution and open up their internet for me to return. If they do those 2 things, this would be a world-class city.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Full Day 1

7Last night ten of my roomies and I went out looking for a bar to raise a beer to the memory of my grandfather. They had all read my blog entry about him from a couple of days ago. And they wanted to join in. After they did (12+ me) I volunteered to buy the round. But last night was September 1 and Mongolia has a "blue law" of sorts that no alcohol can be served - anywhere - on the first day of each month.  We ended up going to a restaurant where 11 of us (2 dropped out) raised a glass of apple juice (Papa would have approved) and I paid the $17 bar tab. It was great: people from 52 to 22, from Turkey, Holland, Germany and France, all speaking English and all toasting John Calvin Rollins, MD.  Video (9 seconds) posted on Facebook.

Asleep at 11 I was horizontal for the first time in 55 hours yet I awoke this morning at 4a thinking I was headed for Teralj Park on a guided trip but my traveling partner - a guy from Holland who said it was set - dropped the ball and that leaves only tomorrow. So I headed out to find a foot massage (they are still swolen from the long flight) and found a rarety: a Mongolian restaurant. The menu was all in Mongolian, the clientele was all Mongolian, so I had lunch here. Photos of the menu and the lunch below. $6.

5 hours of sleep in 3 days and 6 cups of coffee today but I'm fading....

I didn't find the foot massage but did - finally - find my way back to the hostel and slept 5 hours. Headed out with 3 guys to find beer and food. 2 hours later, after 2 giant good local beers and a large plate of Mongolian grilled meat dumplings ($8 total) we returned home and I made a few calls home. A good first full day.