Went to find my school again today, but still no luck.
Okay, let’s start at the beginning. I woke up with the intention of finding a hostel so I could use the internet there, meet some other foreigners, etc. Then I realised that I needed internet to find a hostel. I haven’t got any lonely planet book or anything like that – definitely should have come more prepared.
Looked for an internet room in this hotel but couldn’t find one. No restaurant either. Asked at reception but nobody seems to understand anything I’m talking about. I have a phrase book but it’s all stuff like, I need some condoms please, and Have you got something for diarrhoea? and Where can I buy some suntan lotion?
They understood when I paid for another night however. Three hundred yuan, which converts to about thirty quid. Not bad for the size and quality of the room.
Had breakfast in McDonalds again. There’s one near the hotel, you can’t miss it as the only recognisable anything in this entire city. Everything looks like a Chinese restaurant.
Then I caught a taxi and went back to the address of where my school should be. Just to double check if I’d be taken to the same building as I was yesterday. Could’ve walked there from here but needed to confirm the address was right.
No luck again. Same story as yesterday.
There were a bunch of people selling stuff in the street nearby. Saw some baby ducks – who’s gonna buy a baby duck and what for? The rest of it was the usual stuff you get in Chinatown. Ornaments and fancy little boxes for keeping the ornaments in. Nothing especially exciting.
While I was there a sudden panic ensued, which I later realised was because someone had spotted the police nearby. All the sellers hurriedly packed up all their stuff and legged it round the corner out of sight. Quite funny to watch.
Need to get myself a winter coat at some point. The weather outside is pretty cold. Found an internet café at least. There’s an email from my school:
Looking forward to our meeting you. You first class on January 11. Did you arrive at Beijing yet?
Please reply soon.
Not sure how to react to this. I mean, I was supposed to be picked up at the airport on the 5th of January. No mention of that. But if my first class is on the eleventh then at least I’m not in any trouble. I replied with:
In Beijing now but can’t find the school. What is the address? I’m staying at the Grace Hotel on Fujing Street, Chaoyangmen district.
Looking forward to your reply,
Bought cigarettes that taste of flowers. It was the cheapest pack. Got some beer too and went back to my room. I know I should explore Beijing, make the most of this free time I have, but not in the mood. It’s cold and I don’t really know what I’m doing.
There’s a writing desk in my hotel room. That’s where I’ve been jotting this diary stuff down. The carpet is dark brown, the bed is huge, high and soft, covered in brown and cream blankets with duvet to match. There’s a coffee table with two wicker chairs, a modern TV; the double windows cover one whole wall of the room which leads to a narrow balcony overlooking the metropolis. There’s about twenty lights in the room which are all turned on using a control panel by the bed.
The bathroom is gold; the bath itself is more like a spa pool than anything else; bubbles can be turned on; there are round neon lights on the bottom of the bath and the thing lights up like Christmas while you’re in there.
Most of the last few days have been spent reading my book, drinking green tea and smoking far too much: on the bed, sat in one of the wicker chairs, out on the balcony, in the bath … I had a few beers in here last night – flicked through the TV channels looking for anything interesting. Mostly watched Chinese cartoons and music videos.
I’m on the fifteenth floor. I take the lift down in the mornings. As far as I know there’s nothing else in this hotel apart from rooms. Gotta stop eating McDonalds.
Handing my keys in for the last time today. Going to a hostel I found on the internet. It’s been nice here in a weird way, but also rather lonely. Time for a new start.