Beijing: Week 1
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Saturday, February 23, 2019

Beijing: Week 1

My new life...

Well, I landed. Beijing, it's going to be a real treat. 

The flight was long, the leg room was limited, and the bags were heavy, but it has all been worth it. After one week in China, I have settled quickly, although with no guarantee whatsoever that I am doing anything right. But hey, the dumplings keep rolling my way, so no complaints yet.

Work? I haven't really started the job yet but I have visited the CCTV Tower (see photo). It is massive, a surefire way to get in my steps each day. All colleagues so far have seemed nothing short of wonderful and I am excited to start my new editing role this week.

Jet lag? It's old hat at this point. A lack of Italian espresso has been something of a hurdle but my body is managing. A bit of instant Nescafé purchased at Walmart, yes, Walmart, has made the transition a smooth one.

Food? I'm eating it. Ten euros can go a long way in a basic Beijing restaurant where a few dumplings and a noodle soup can fill you up rather easily. There is so much to explore here, and enough Pizza Hut's to rival any American city. I'm not going to Pizza Hut, I'm just saying that I am not too worried about going hungry.

Regular street views...

Pollution? Eh, the air can get a little hazy but no one seems too worried about it. There are so many cars that it's hardly a surprise. I've got my mask packed away and I'll be wearing it for longer walks through the city, but it's no where near as bad as I expected. Beyond that, the majority of the city that I've seen has been clean and less gnarly than a lot of Parisian streets.

People? Besides the normal "cultural difference" stuff -- the aggressive spitting, mostly -- the people in Beijing have been welcoming and accommodating. I know I look like a tourist and that might mean I am mostly one big dollar sign, but I don't think it's that reductive. People are willing to work with me to communicate through whatever means necessary, often whipping out translation apps to converse. My Chinese is limited, which is probably an inflated assessment, but I'm getting by with plenty of help of colleagues and locals who seem genuinely happy to be patient with me.

Of course it's week one, so we'll reconvene after the honeymoon period, should it ever end. For the moment, all signs are pointing towards a smooth transition as I move into my newly acquired apartment and start filling it with a few items from one of Beijing's IKEA stores. Onward...

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