I’m sitting here at the Internet-connected computers at my hostel – the Qianmen Hostel in Beijing. I’m by the door out to the noisy, hot street. The air conditioner next to me is leaking, so one of the staff is mopping around me. Behind me, other guests are coming and going through the door, sometimes bumping me with their backpacks as they pass.
This is no way to write anything interesting and/or thoughtful!
So I’ll stick to banalities for the moment.
Despite the leaking air conditioner, this place is really lovely – an old wooden building with rooms set around a cool inner courtyard. The staff is friendly and cheerful. They serve a huge, cheap breakfast with good coffee. Good stuff.
While here I met a gaggle of Brits – 5 just-graduated women and one early-30’s man – who invited me out with them last night. We went to a lake district north of the Forbidden City, where a huge number of loungey bars have opened up. The setting was nice, the bars were basically interchangeable, and the “we’ll just go out for a drink or two” turned into a sleepy 3 am cab ride back to the hostel. Good times.
Today I leave for Shanghai but overnight bus. If my miming and the bus-ticket vendor’s broken English have the same meaning, then it’s a sleeper bus – meaning I’ll have a bed (short and narrow, but still a bed). If not, it’ll be 15 hours being crammed into an Asian-sized seat, with Asian leg room. But heck, the ticket was cheap – 266 yuan (about $47) vs the 655 yuan it would have cost for the train.
Ugh, this is boring, right? Yeah. I’m going to end this torture now, and hope that my HP Moscow/NASA connection comes through in a few days.