In Northern China the central heating is switched on from mid of November to mid of March. That is much better than having no heating like in places South of the Yangtze River. When I came back from Germany I found out that our apartment complex did not have any hot water since March 24th. Today I asked the management office when they think we will have hot water again and they said they are not sure but maybe in May. In May??? I hope this is not true. This is not funny being in a cold apartment with no hot water. So today we went to get a shower in a near by swimming pool. It belongs to a school. Even on a Sunday it is still closed between 8am and noon. When we went there after 12 they said “sorry the water in the pool is cold”. We went swimming anyway and at least the showers were hot. After that we wanted to go for lunch. The first restaurant we decided to go to was closed and the building under renovation. The next one we went to had a huge construction fence around it. So we could not see if the restaurant was still there or not. The third restaurant was now turned into a special massage and spa club. I was so hungry and tired of walking around and discovering our neighborhood restaurants vanished that I actually suggested to try KFC as I have never eaten there in China. It was not as horrible as I expected. But you can get much better and more Chinese food for that price.
Archive for März, 2008
Lunch at the revolving restaurant of the TV Tower of Beijing. That is the highest restaurant in Beijing. There would have been a beautiful view on a normal day. Unfortunately we had huge fog which slightly limited the visibility. I could not quite see my apartment, but at least there were precise maps on the windows so that I knew exactly where I was.
But nevertheless my toastmaster friends and me enjoyed the sashimi and other foreign food.
The lunch ticket included a visit to the Underwater World. I have been to the TV Tower with visitors before but never heard or saw the Underwater World. It was nicer than expected and I took some pictures there.
It was actually quite crowded in the Underwater World. The only empty place being the ship wreck. There was an open pool with gold fish. Chinese love gold fish and some of the visitors started using their caps to try to catch some gold fish. I am not really sure how they would have transported their catch on their tour bus…
Rain in March? In Beijing? That is so unusual. Where are the sand storms and dry weather? Now I am back with my new fixed gear bike and it is raining. I thought I could ride in the sunshine the whole weekend. Not only I am surprised by this weather, others too. There was chaos on the streets. It took us half an hour waiting for a taxi in the rain at 9:30 pm till we decided to go by bus. We thought we can easily get a taxi from the bus stop we got off the bus from. But no – all the taxis were occupied. So we walked to another bus stop and waited for another bus. It took us over an hour to get to a bar that had a performance of Mongolian live music. When we arrived it looked like they had finished already. But the band called Hanggai did actually play again.
Yesterday I went to the juggling and acrobatics group workout in Erlangen. It was really great as they have a huge hall, a lot of juggling and unicycling equipment and they even have real gymnastics mats. This is what we need in Beijing. It was quite full and a lot of people were practicing acrobatics. I found a strong and stable partner to lift me around. The coolest figure we tried and almost mastered in the end was the free standing handstand.
Today I have sore muscles. But actually more the legs than the arms. Probably from all the attempts of the high plange as performed in the movie Dirty Dancing.
I was extremely happy because finally yesterday I had my new fixed gear bike plus all the parts to actually build it up and ride So I did bring it to the juggling workout and I did get to ride it. Backward circles feel good, wheelies are really possible (but I need a bit more time to master them) and I was able to skid again (I am not able to do that on my Corima track bike). But today I will have to take the bike apart to be able to carry it to Asia with me.
I woke up this morning to find everything covered with snow. It was really beautiful. Not really what you expect end of March in Germany. Some people were complaining that all the Easter eggs that were hidden in the garden were too hard to find because they were all covered with fresh snow.
I went to the 31st International Easter Youth Days (Osterjugendtage) opening ceremony. It was a professionally arranged show with mainly athletes of clubs from Wilhelmshaven participating in the show. They had acrobatics, gymnastics, hand balancing among the many performances and most of the acts were very creative.
To get the show running there were a lot of helpers and sponsors. Here are a few of them standing around my trick bike:
The most famous beach of Wilhemshaven is the South Beach. It did not look like what I was expecting. And there was a very cold strong wind blowing.
Again a beautiful day. Blue sky and sunshine. We had a look at the construction site of the World Trade Tower 3. That building will be the highest building of Beijing for quite some time to come.
The outside construction is almost finished. They have added windows till a very high floor already. In the picture below you can see one of the first World Trade Towers in the bottom right corner. It looks small compared to this third tower.
I was riding around with my Corima track bike – it rolls so nice . Julien was inline skating. He loves doing all kinds of tricks in traffic.
Because of the great weather we decided to go to a restaurant with a courtyard so that we can have lunch outside. When we arrived the head waitress told us we cannot have lunch outside because they do not have tables and chairs and because of the wind (some leaves might fall in our dishes was the excuse). We kept explaining that I am German and I need to eat outside because all Germans always eat in beer gardens. We even proposed that we can use the huge white and blue gold fish bowl as a table and we can get chairs ourselves. Even though she kept on shaking her head she did eventually bring us chairs. That was a good meal with a delicious spicy bullfrog.
The exhibition of the Art of Dunhuang has been running for some weeks only. Whenever I passed the Meishuguan (the National Museum of Art) there was a queue. I have never seen that before for any other exhibition.
They had actually even covered the outside of the museum with huge canvas (or banners) with real size pictures of the outside desert of the famous Mogao Caves of Dunhuang. They only left the middle part uncovered so it even resembled the pagoda of the Mogao Caves behind which the huge Buddha is standing in Dunhuang.
The exhibition itself mainly contained copies of the original cave wall paintings. It was nice to see, even though I had been to Dunhuang already.
Inside the exhibition was really crowded. You had to watch out not to get pushed away from a painting by elderly people. It was crazy inside, so full. The reason was: Anybody over 60 years old has free entry to the museum. It seems this kind of exhibition attracts more people than if they do one of the typical “French Paintings” exhibition.
Today was Juggling night. Not many people were there as there was a long break since December – since our talented juggler and enthusiastic juggling teacher Fede left Beijing to go back to Bella Italia. We also had to change the day we meet from Tuesday to Monday because the bar we are meeting in has events planned on Tuesdays.
Peter wanted to be able to juggle 4 balls today. Well, that is not so easy. Instead he learned how to throw and catch the diabolo even with a 360 body turn.
Strange… I had problems doing one armed handstands. Maybe I should not have drunken those Margaritas especially as I did not have lunch and no dinner…
Do you want to find a cool fixed gear bike? Or do you want to have something beautiful put together just for you? This is the place you have to go:
Velo Culture Bike Shop
in Birds Rock, 5717 La Jolla Blvd. Phone: +1-858-454-0398
They have a lot of frames and fixed gear bikes.
It is a cool shop with super people: They are fixed gear experts and can get you about anything you want.
And they are fun to hang out with. So also friends drop by and spend time in the shop or on the backyard bike trick area (needs to be paved) playing around on different bikes.
But be careful: If you go to the shop you might end up there for a few hour so go there early enough Or you might end up buying a bike…
Some more pictures are on: flickr