Sunday, October 03, 2010

Beijing, part 15: Family Meals and Foot Massages

We met Jason's daughter of many names. Apple is her chosen English name, so that's how I know her.

q57 - Apple and Chunlin
She's a singer, dancer, model, voice actress -- eight or nine years old.

q59 - Apple
Apple is a precocious one. Kindergarden English level. He has trouble with the Fs in "five" and "fifteen," but has no problem with "four."

Chunlin described Jason's apartment as an old house, since it was built before she moved away in 1988. This is the view out his window.
q56 - View from Jason's Apartment

One morning, we went into town with Chunyu and jia ren (family). We dropped off Steven at school. They had extra security measures because of a rash and scare of child killings in Beijing recently.
s1 - Taking Steve to School

s2 - Steve Going to School

Chunyu then dropped us and Fuyang at Sihui Dong Station (the end of line 1) to join the crazy crush of rush-hour subway traffic. We waited for the next train to get a seat, but what's the point? We only stayed on the train for two stops anyway.

A couple days later, Chunyu and his wife Yufang gave us a prepaid card for foot massages at a nearby shop operated by blind men. Felt good. Our sore feet were not so sore anymore.
s62 - Mark Getting a Foot Bath - Ch

s64 - Chunlin's Foot Bath

Sitting with my feet
In a bucket of tea
In a room painted pink
With my wife next to me

Afterwards, we returned home for dinner with the family. I played with Steve and his toys (legos, matchbox cars, toy guns, etc.). He called me "Gu Fu" which means "uncle on father's side, but not one of his brothers," or something like that. In any case, he didn't really pronounce the last vowel, so it sounded more like "Goof"! I am the big goof. Wa shi da gufu.
t33 - Smiling Steven

Chunyu's cats aren't much fun to play with. Careful or they'll scratch you, he said.
r1 - Li Cats

I fell asleep watching the Adventures of Monkey and Pig (or whatever it's called) while the others chatted.

The next morning, no rush. I was fairly medieval-architectured out. Not much besides that to see in Beijing. Chunlin and I went out to the street to buy breakfast -- soup in a bag, ubiquitous fried dough, and cooked-on-the-spot pancake-egg-chive-hot-sauce wrap of some sort -- very tasty. The soup was too smoky for me. It tasted like burnt campfire pancakes.

Chunlin watched Chinese Dateline CCTV, or something like that. 9 a.m. What to do today? How about a massage?
Lying on a bed
With a hole for my head
Me and the one I wed
Blind men rub us red

After touring, we met with Jason and his girlfriend Shannon for a fancy dinner in the Haidian District. Chunlin and I were a half hour late, but Shannon was over an hour later than us. We started without her. She didn't eat much of what we saved for her, anyway. Chunyu and Steve picked us up and took us back home to Tongzhou.

The next evening, Chunlin had another foot massage while I played Grand Theft Auto with maniac Steve. Knowing English is very helpful for remembering the cheat codes. Dinner again at home with Chunyu's family.

The following evening, however, we all went out for a big meal. Finally, we had everyone together (well, except Shannon). It was supposedly a fancy restaurant (Jin Bai Wan, the same chain as our first lunch in Beijing) but this particular restaurant had the atmosphere of a noisy Denny's or McDonald's. The Peking Duck was very good and the presentation on the plates was quite nice, but it seemed a bit of a waste.

v98 - With a Cherry on Top

v99 - Dessert Potatoes?
No matter how good the food was, it's not a fancy restaurant when there's a plastic number placard on the table. Table 62 will never be as fancy as room 35 -- like the restaurants in Shanghai and Nanjing we had big meals at. Best for first.

We then returned home all together, except for Chunlin and Yufang, who stopped off for foot massages. Cousins Apple and Steven played together nicely. Thanks to China's one-child policy, apparently now the words for "brother" and "sister" are used for first cousins.

The next morning, we get another relaxingly slow start. Chunlin had another massage and got a haircut, to boot. Meanwhile I watched Chicken Little in Chinese. Chunlin can't get enough of the cheap massages.

And that's how our days in Beijing went, around all the sight-seeing.
La la la, la lune est là
Lune est là, yuè liàng
La la la, la lune est là
Moi shì loony!

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