We have been in Beijing long enough to have stop counting days, and maybe even weeks! We’ve led worship on five Sundays though so it must be going to be seven weeks come Thursday.
It turns out I’m as bad at blogging here as I am in New Zealand. I write little blog posts in my head as I ride my bicycle around the city but never seem to write them on an actual computer with an internet connection!
There are some touristy blogposts due, and maybe some everyday life stuff. But for now – a small story to make this post slightly less insubstantial!
It was Wednesday, which is our day off. We’ve been making an effort to use the day to go out marvelling at the city we live in and to see some of the places that Chinese and foreign tourists alike make visits to. This time it was Tian Tan – the Temple of Heaven. And we’d had an interesting morning but had got to that point where we weren’t really looking anymore. It’s some kind of saturation I guess – the beauty and the majesty and also the constant lack of reference points, of not knowing what exactly we are looking at. It’s exhausting and you notice you’re walking past amazing things and you’re not looking.
So we decided it was time to go to lunch. And so we left to look for a taxi – we had Kang bao tofu on our minds and knew where we could get some quality sticky spicy tofu! And this cab driver understands where we’ve asked to be taken (we chalk it up as a small triumph) and offers to take us there for 100 kuai (about NZ$20). And I say, no, we’ll stick with the meter. And he tells us traffic is bad and it’ll be t least 120 kuai if we use the meter.
Now here’s the thing, I don’t know exactly where in the city we are, we’ve come out of a Temple gate some distance from where we went in. And I don’t actually know exactly where the place we are going is in relation to where we are. But I do know that it takes 40 minutes on the expressway from our house to the airport and that costs us about RMB80. So I say – no way, that’s a 30 kuai taxi ride. And he shrugs, and we walk on to find another cab. Who uses the meter. Which costs us RMB34. Which gives me a moment of going “don’t mistake me for a tourist” in my satisfied little fledgling Beijinger head! Of course we only know about as many Mandarin words/phrases as a tourist so that is something we’ll need to remedy soon!
(RMB – renminbi, also referred to as kuai or yuan. Still a bit hazy about how all the words get used interchangeably!)