It’s not often I get memed. In fact, it’s almost never, meaning this is the second time in well over three years of blogging that I can remember being memed, but anyway, I got memed sometime over the weekend. I’m supposed to put up a screenshot of my desktop, but:

  1. I’m not entirely sure how to go about doing that; and
  2. The computer I usually use, the one the university provides in every foreign teacher’s apartment, is getting less and less reliable, and so I don’t really want to go provoking it any more than necessary. As it is, quite a few regular, normal, everyday functions have led to all kinds of ridiculous trouble. I’ve done everything I can to fix it, but nothing really improves.

Anyway, Stuart memed me, and I’m supposed to put up a screenshot of my desktop, but I don’t really want to risk the manic, senile wrath of this computer, and I’m too lazy to open up my much more stable laptop, so I’ll just give you a description.

First up, my desktop isn’t as clean and tidy as Stuart’s. First of all, there is no sleek, elegantly simple background. We’ve just left the wallpaper set to what it was when we moved in- some random picture of some random atoll, quite possibly in the South Pacific, but considering it looks like the free stuff that comes bundled in with Windows, it’s probably in the Caribbean. The laptop wallpaper is rather more personal- a photo of lzh on the seashore in Dalian- at the point on the western side of the mouth of Laohutan bay if I remember rightly. Secondly, I’m a messy person, one of those who works most effectively in merry chaos. My desktop- on both computers- is a mess of icons for various bits and pieces of software- including, on this computer, rubbish other people installed that I haven’t gotten around to removing yet (I discovered the hard way that removing other people’s software will not make this computer function better, although it will stop Tencent Traveller from deciding it must be the default browser and opening itself up without my permission), and folders containing various bits and pieces I’ve downloaded or written or photographed or whatever, and then various photos and documents I havent’ gotten around to putting in the folders I created for them yet. Anyway, my desktop is a mess. Much like the physical desk this screen is sitting on. Much like the desk I had commandeered in the office- until that desk was commandeered for the two new computers the boss bought for us foreign teachers.

Anyway, I guess I’m supposed to tag five people, but I’ve already broken one meme rule by not posting the required screenshot, so, umm, the first five people who read this? The first five who leave a comment (Stuart excluded, because he’s already done this meme)?

Sorry, a bit too worn out and traffic-jammed to cooperate with this meme thing properly.



Never has it taken us so absurdly long to get back from Yanqing. Well, there was one Spring Festival when we were snowed in for a day, but the next day we made it in to the county town even though the nobody had made even the slightest attempt to clear the highway, and by the time we got there the buses were back on, so we got back in the usual time, just a day later than planned. Doesn’t count, that one.

It started at the Yanqing bus station, where the queue for the fast buses stretched out the back gate of the bus station and around to the front gate. I have never seen such a long queue there, and I doubt lzh has, either. The queue for the slow buses was not short, either. Well, of course, Sunday afternoon, there’s going to be a lot of Yanqingren heading back into Beijing for the next week’s work or study. But the queue got so big because the buses just weren’t coming in to the station. I don’t know why. Normally there’s plenty of buses sitting in the station ready to go, and more coming in, so no matter how busy it gets, you never have to wait very long. And Bafangda bus company has proven itself pretty damn good at keeping up with the crowds. We’ve never had to wait long, no matter how long the queue, no matter how big the holiday or how many tourists there may be, because Bafangda always has enough buses running frequently enough that even a queue of one or two hundred metres will take at most half an hour to get through- and such queues happen at the start of major holidays at Deshengmen, when buses direct to Yanqing are filled as soon as they open their doors, while the Badaling buses struggle to fill up. So I assume it was traffic or some other unforeseen problem, the kind you can’t prepare for, that was holding the buses up. After all, they still seem to be stopping and checking every single truck heading northwestwards on G110 at the Yanqing weigh station, or whatever it is they’ve been doing to cause a permanent truck jam stretching from the county town back to the end of the Badaling Expressway. I fully approve of cracking down on the cowboys who make travel along the G110 so “exciting” at times, but… that’s the subject for a whole other rant. Anyway, we eventually got on a bus, and all was good….

Until we ran into a traffic jam stretching from just south of Changping Town all the way in to Madian.

And then another along the northeast corner of the Third Ring. And slow traffic down the East Third Ring.

We left the village about half past two. We finally got home just after seven. Four and a half hours. Not even in the days when lzh insisted on taking the slow bus- the one that stops at every little excuse for a village along the side of the expressway through Changping- did it ever take so long to get between Beijing and the village.

Anyway, it was a good trip. We took a few things up to the village, most importantly the big wedding photo album (we got two identical albums, one big, one small. It makes sense to leave the big one, which is really quite heavy, up in the village- lzh’s parents have a much more stable life than we do). It’s funny, everbody says I look good in those photos. Ma said I look much better in a suit than in my regular clothes. I dunno, I think at best I look alright. Anyway, if everybody likes the photos, cool, that’s the most important bit.

And we came back with a pack full of the rest of our winter clothes. Well, not all of our winter clothes, but certainly enough that we won’t freeze as the weather cools down.

And speaking of cooling down, I would say it was pretty close to zero degrees this morning up in Yanqing. Not quite cold enough for ice to appear, but still, very chilly.

But this morning dawned so brilliantly, amazingly, breathtakingly clear that looking out over the fields, I could’ve just about fooled myself I was back in New Zealand’s South Island. It was incredible. At about eight I walked outside and felt the chill, but I was too interested in getting to the toilet- and then on the way back from the toilet, I looked around, and….. brilliant. Cold, hard, blue sky and every detail of the mountains just north of the village etched so clearly and finely it could’ve been the landscape in Lord of the Rings, and a nearly full moon hanging low over Songshan to the northwest. Then I looked around- the last of the clouds were still making their way over the Jundushan towards Beijing, but the air was perfectly clear. A while later I stepped out of the courtyard to get a broader view- something that is much easier to do now that pretty much everything, and certainly all the corn, has been harvested. Incredible. Not for the first time I could see the mountains in the Badaling area. For the first time I could see past the Shijinglong skifield all the way to the mountains on the eastern edge of the basin- and those eastern mountains looked for all the world like the had a decent coating of snow on them. I was not the only one to think this- on the way in to the county town this afternoon, I heard lzh, Ma and Eryi discussing the same thing. Was that snow on the eastern mountains, or just a trick of the light playing in the crystalline air?

Anyway, we’re back. And it was good to see, as we were stuck in that stupid-long traffic jam in Changping, before the light went, that the air in Beijing was almost as clear as in Yanqing today. Of course, that means it’ll get pretty chilly tonight, but bring it on- this is the time of year when I’m looking forward to the relief the cold will provide. A couple of months from now I’ll be thoroughly sick and tired of the sheer amount of clothing I have to take off and put on every time I enter or leave a building, but for now, I’m looking forward to it.

2 Responses to “back, thoroughly traffic-jammed, and even memed, too”

  1. John Says:

    …the first five people who read this?

    If only I’d got here sooner. But someone has to be sixth.

    Ma said I look much better in a suit than in my regular clothes.

    You’ve hit that age when you can get away with wearing a suit without feeling awkward and uncomfortable, and looking much the same way.

  2. wangbo Says:

    I suspect, John, that you were actually first to read this, as always, so consider yourself tagged.

    And she didn’t say I looked the same, she definitely said I looked much better, so I don’t know what age that makes me.