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Beijing 1

September 25, 2016

Hey Billy,

Today, I sweat in my nice jeans describing the strange trials of that year in Brussels to Adam O as we walked in the shade of a long wall toward Tiananmen Square.

We had walked through the many gates and archways within the great length of the once Forbidden City and saw the urns where they kept coal fires going under their water in the winter.  Emergency fire extinguishers.  We then walked up the hill to a small temple on the same north/south feng shui meridian as the great palace and marveled at it from above.
After we sat down for a cappuccino in a western-friendly pedestrian street, we walked through the cypress trees in the park leading to the Temple of Heaven and talked a little about country music.

I learned today that Mao’s remains are kept in a crystal coffin and raised from a freezer for viewing during visiting hours.

We lasted the first few hours of the day without our masks, but eventually the dull headache and subtle stomach scraping became enough to relent.

You can see the sun most days, but in a dystopian way, where one may be tempted to stare directly into its perfect ember orb, filtered through smog.

We took our sneakers and backpacks to the fancy reservation for Peking duck.  Adam got a coke, I an orange juice.

He took me to the western grocery store in the embassy district where he lives, a ten minute walk from my hotel.  I bought a hard to find Belgian beer.  In China.

We walked and walked, like we do when we again meet up after several years.

Last night, I went out with the Peter Pan crew and delightfully expatted it up.  The night ended with us directly in front of the band of four Chinese musicians seriously rocking “Take Me Down To Paradise City”, then “Jailhouse Rock”, then “Hit the Road, Jack”.  We danced and sang and marveled at the cross-section of cultures all reveling in a perfectly shoddy way together.  Then the cab home took us in the complete wrong direction, and the driver then got out three times to ask other cabbies to read our hotel business card because his eyesight wasn’t so good.  Eventually we got back.

Tomorrow, we go to the Wall.

I still need to find a toy panda for Henry.




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