April 25th, 2009
So tired. So rundown. It was really hard to wake up this morning, but my wife was quite insistent. Get up, now, you lazy bastard! We had arranged to go visit her friend who had a baby two and a half months ago, and had I slept as much as I wanted, we never would’ve got there.
Hell, had I slept as much as I wanted, I wouldn’t be getting to class on Monday morning. Or Tuesday.
Anyways, she succeeded in kicking me out of bed- I have the bruises to prove it- and before long we were on our way around to Fengtai, specifically the Grass Bridge.
I’m kinda curious about some of the place names along the Southern Third Ring. 洋桥, Ocean (or Western? whichever, I laid claim to it as my own personal bridge, as I’m both a 洋人 and 南太平洋的人) Bridge? 草桥, Grass Bridge?
And I know I’ve been through that area before, meaning I’ve zipped along the Third Ring in a taxi on my way to Lize Qiao to get the bus back to Taiyuan several times seven or eight years ago. In other words, it’s one of those giant blank spaces on my mental map of Beijing. It doesn’t even merit a “Here be sea monsters” in honour of some strange experience in the deep, dark past. Well, the past tense is now marginally more appropriate.
I have to say I was quite impressed with the area. It’s extremely residential, at least, what I saw of it, but that’s hardly a surprise. It reminded me a bit of Fangzhuang, but with more space. Fangzhuang seems so crowded to me, but today down at Cao Qiao, the Grass Bridge, I felt like there was space, room to breathe. Or maybe it was just the combination of wind and sun beating on my exhausted senses. Whatever, it struck me as being a decently liveable part of town.
And then I noticed that in our friends’ building, the apartments on what must’ve been the fourth or fifth floor had small yards. The southern side of the building was, I guess, shops and restaurants of what must’ve been about three to four storeys, with those first three or four storeys extending much further south than the apartments on the higher floors. This gave those apartments on the fourth or fifth floor roofspace they could use as a small yard, and so they had done so. Cool! I’d love an apartment like that! I mean, you’re elevated enough to be above the fray, with the roof of the downstairs shops extending further out than your ‘yard’, preserving your privacy, but you’ve got a little outdoor space! Wouldn’t that be awesome?
What was less awesome was the baby. Well, it’s not the poor baby’s fault. She is only two and half months old, wee Winnie. And she is very, very cute. But she got one look at the curly auburn-haired, pale-skinned, big-nosed monster that was holding her and burst into “Save me, Mummy! It’s a monster!” tears. Wee Winnie was quite ok watching the monster from the safety of lzh’s, her mum’s, her dad’s, or her grandma’s arms. But being held by the monster was just far too much for the poor wee girl.
And so apparently the mere sight of me is terrifying. It’s not just a holiday I need, but lessons in not scaring babies.
Anyway, it should only be a week until May Day. I hope so. And we’ll be getting four days off here- hey, it’ll be the 90th anniversary of the May 4th Movement. It’s not as good as seven days like it used to be, but it should be enough for a decent rest.