July 23rd, 2008

So it looks like my plan to spend August in Yanqing might not come to fruition…

Well, first of all, although I haven’t exactly been feeling ‘positive’ or ‘optimistic’ about the upcoming games, but I’ve been feeling less pessimisstic. Perhaps more fatalistically neutral. The games will come, the games will go, I’ll do my resolute best to avoid anything associated with them, life will go on as per normal.

Secondly, though, have been happenings. We heard a month or two back that people were being posted at the village entrances to keep outsiders out. I’m hardly an ‘outsider’, having married in, but village officials…. well, ours are very far from the worst, but they are fairly typical. Although there probably won’t be any more trouble than a village official grumbling over his dinner about that bloody foreigner being at the l family house again, such reports don’t do much to inspire confidence. More important, though, is that lzh has been given a new task at work, a task that lasts until September 20. And yes, I do see a connection, albeit tangential, with the Olympics. And it’s a task that must be done on weekends, too. Call me old-fashioned, but I don’t see much sense in spending long periods of time separated from my wife. Tianjin put a stop to that kind of thing- one week, two weeks maximum apart over the course of a school year was enough for us. And call me a pessimmist, but with the Olympics around the corner, I can only foresee more hassles than usual if I go there unaccompanied.

And then there’s this: Through all this visa crackdown and random ID checks and stricter registering (and re-registering and re-re-registering and checking of re-re-re-re-registering) of foreigners and waidiren at the local cop-shops and what have you, I, sitting here in my small corner of southern Chaoyang, have been pretty much left alone. As have all my colleagues. We have been affected by events, but only by proxy, through friends and loved ones who have had to adjust their plans. I guess the natural and obvious assumption is that any foreigner in this area is connected with BeiGongDa and therefore properly visaed and registered through BeiGongDa, and I only know of one instance where that is not entirely true in the strictest sense. And to think, I’ve been dutifully carrying my passport everywhere…

And besides, Roubaozi gets back in the middle of August and I have his apartment keys, so I have to be here then.

So I dunno. I, at least, may get up there for a few days. lzh, too, if her danwei drops this new task, though I doubt that’ll happen. But for the time being it looks like I’m going to have to drop my plan to spend August up in Yanqing and stick it out here, in the heat and humidity of the plain. I can’t say I’m looking forward to it. Summer in Yanqing is a million times better than summer down here on the plain- provided, of course, you don’t have to toil in the fields day-in and day-out.

I’m a little disappointed, I mean there were things I was quite specifically planning to do up there, but at the same time this does open up new possibilities…..

Did I mention I bought a bike off a colleague? Well, if I can’t spend August in Yanqing, I can spend it alternating between studying and getting out on the bike and re-exploring. There are still large parts of the city I haven’t yet seen.  And who knows? Maybe I will stop being such a grinch and go check out some of the 热闹…. nah, probably not.

Well, one thing I should do is write up last Thursday’s wander around Tianqiao and down to Yongdingmen. I saw stuff there that had me planning out a post as I was wandering, it’s long since time I actually wrote it down.

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