Jennifer A. Chin (cswallow) wrote,
Jennifer A. Chin
cswallow

Beijing, China: Week 9, Part 1 (Beijing Storms)

Thunderstorms startle me, here. In the south, as in Chicago, storms announce their arrival with slow darkness, like the dimming of theater lights before the show begins. In the bay area, storms last long, but are merely punctuation marks for the week-long rains that spin lazily through every spring. Here in Beijing, the light is already dampened from the haze that paints the city in veils of grey.  Suddenly there is lightening, and torrents. The parasols that so many girls carry to ward against the sun become water shields instead. The wind beats the windows with rain.

Last night my mom and I were caught in the subway station in the middle of just such a storm. We and other umbrella-less souls sat on the stairs, stared out at the clamor and counted the seconds from the lightening to the thunder. For nearly an hour we stayed, until finally the rain lightened and we dashed for the bus stop.


From the steps at Xitucheng Subway Station

Robert arrived today, and I meet them at the hotel after my dance lesson. We immediately go to eat Beijing duck - roast duck in thin pancakes, duck soup, duck in lettuce cups. Now we are almost complete. Dad is birthday fishing in Yellowstone, but staying in touch with emails and phone calls. Julia is back home, working hard and staying in touch, too. So, we are together anyway.

It was fun to live out of the same room with my mom for a couple of days. In the jetlag of morning she lays in bed, surfing the web on her iPhone and trying not to wake me up. During the day she explored on her own while I worked, and then we reunited for dinner. The masses of people grind on her a little, I think. The press of people on the subway and bus can be tiring, especially while jetlagged. But we navigate the city smoothly and I think about how lucky I am to be able to explore like this with my mother, who is sound of body and mind. We have a girl's day - visiting the Poly Art Museum's elegant collection of bronzes and Buddhist carvings before getting coffee, going shopping, and then hitting up Nanluogu Xiang (one of Beijing's most popular renovated hutong areas).  Footsore and satisfied, we finally go home (when it stops raining, anyway).

This next week will be well-packed. No time for dancing, but much time for family and work. On Thursday we leave for Ningbo, and we will visit family in Shanghai whom I've never met before. What should I ask them?
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