China’s Not So Scary

The iced lakes surrounding our school is melting, and also I walked outside today with an open jacket! Granted I still wore gloves and a scarf, but that’s just because I’m dramatic and miss the hot Florida winters. Regardless, I think it’s safe to say that I’ve survived my first Chinese winter, hooray!

Side note: I remember the good old days when I was growing up in Boston would walk through the snow in a spring jacket, skirt, and tights. Have I gotten old? I heard the older you get the more sensitive to cold you get? ….That probably explains the entire Florida = Retirement State thing. Next thing you know my joints will start protesting when it’s rainy….

Back on track: My friend went back to Korea about a week ago and it has taken me three days to recuperate. Yes, we drank almost every day and we got as sick as dogs by the end of the week….Therefore, it was a roaring success!

She got in on in on the afternoon, thank goodness, because I had to haul over to Beijing airport from Tianjin to get there. Tianjin and Beijing are conveniently close, trains leave every 15 minutes and it only takes half an hour, BUT getting to the airport made the trip and hour extra, haha. I was so glad to see her when she stepped out and I immediately wanted her heeled boots. Korean fashion has clearly influenced the girl, but if going that way is wrong I don’t want to be right! Plus she’s always been pretty into fashion and make up anyways.

We went right back to Tianjin and went to my American friend’s apartment. He is still visiting his family and let me use it for the week for free, what a sweetheart. Then we met with two of my favorite people and I treated her to an expensive, nice hotpot restaurant. After stuffing ourselves I took her to a party I organized at my favorite place….that’s right, I took her to Helen’s. I kept warning her beforehand not to expect too much, she reads my blog and I didn’t know what image she had of the place, but she actually was charmed by it. The workers were really nice to her, the drinks were flowing, and she really liked all of my friends. That is where I started to notice; when she was around I didn’t get as much attention as I was used to. As a black girl in Asia, the stares just become as common as the sky, you know it’s there and that it’s blue, but it’s so fixed that it bears no thought. Well the fact that she’s darker than me and had in kinky twists (kind of close to braids) fascinated everyone in the vicinity. It had magic powers, people would find themselves entranced, staring, and having side discussions about the “cool” hair, “Is it real?” “Is she born that way?”, etc. That’s how it was everyday, especially in the crowded Beijing subways haha.

Back on topic, I took her to many of the great Tianjin tourist spots, and if it weren’t winter it would’ve been perfect. She is a Caribbean girl at heart (and I am weak), so we escaped into coffee shops on many occasions to get feeling in our feet and hands back. In total, we made three visits to Helen’s and she almost got a worker sweatshirt as a souvenir but we forgot to grab it. Funniest thing that happened there: Two tall Chinese guys walked in and my friend started eye flirting, then a girl from their table walks over and asked her if she was single, then wanted her number (for her guy friend). Since she was just visiting, of course my friend didn’t have a phone. Eventually, the tall guy in a blazer walked over with an ultimate wingwoman, I will call her UWW because goodness knows I can’t remember their names. Anyways, I was glad for my friend because he studied in Australia and UWW in Britain, so communication was no problem. He was super shy though and most conversation was filtered through UWW. Then they went back and I decided to do some wingwomaning of my own, so I went over and talked with the four of them (2 tall guys and two girls- pretty sure the girls were lesbians if that matters). What shocked me was the two guys turned to me and said, which one of us does she choose?….WHAT? Did we inadvertently step into an open buffet? I loved it, so we moved to the table beside them and spent the night talking to them, but the other tall guy spoke no English, what was he thinking? Anyways he was the first practicing Chinese Catholic I’ve met, so I am probably going to service with him on Sunday, we will see, I’m only going if he calls, haha.

Then, my friend, and my crazy great American guy friend took a train to Beijing to spend the last few days of her vacation. Instead of drinking, we slept that night and woke up early to take a walk through some Beiijng Hutongs, go to Tiananmen, the Forbidden City, and see an acrobatic show. The show was AMAZING, we were seated in the second row, and I could literally see the muscles shaking and straining. I literally held my breath for most of the stunts, it was too real that close up, haha. Then we took a walk to the Beijing night food market, where one can buy snake, starfish, silkworms, and other weird delicacies….but just for photos, we were not that brave. Then took a trip to one of Beijing’s party districts, Sanlitun. We started at a cheap, dive bar called Kai Bar for 10 RMB shots and drinks, got satisfactorily tipsy, and went to Vics to dance. We met a lot of cool people that night, the music was great, and danced until 6am.

Unfortunately, the next day was my friend’s last so we had to wake up and make our way to the Great Wall, but it’s just another day in the life, right?

We ended with a trip to the Silk Market, but we got there late and barely got any shopping done, sadly. But I got a great new purse~

All in all, our time together was like one mega-sleepover party, she did my hair, makeup; we woke up late and had a great time. Brushed our teeth with a bottle of Jack….you know the deal. Though she noticed the negatives about China, like pushing, lack of sanitation, etc, she still has plans to come back and visit for a longer time next year. The fact that she wasn’t scared away and wants to come back make me happy, like a proud momma.  Also, what I learned about myself? I am a terrible interpreter. When I speak Chinese, my mind is in Chinese mode, likewise for English, so trying to mix the two modes suddenly had funny results. I would speak extremely strange English (like directly translating strange), or assume that my friend understood what was being spoken to her. One time I even turned to her and said a sentence in Chinese…..I will work on this problem for when my sister and cousin get here, haha.


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. wil-na
    Feb 13, 2012 @ 00:56:38

    Aww, don’t lie to them! You know you were getting all of the attention as I stood behind you lol! The only man I had eyes for was the carrefoure guy….I hope you tow kept in-touch! You really made my vacation awesome and I hope you come and visit me in the summer! ❤ u!


    • marshabarsha
      Feb 14, 2012 @ 09:09:02

      Stop lying Wilna, you know nothing could draw them away from your twists of glory 😛
      and yeah we texted a little afterwards, that reminds me, let me send him a happy valentines day message (plus a kiss winky face just for you~)


  2. wil-na
    Feb 13, 2012 @ 00:56:57


  3. wil-na
    Feb 23, 2012 @ 18:58:56



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