Sunday, February 12, 2006

Bejiing, China! 中国北京

Jeremy and I arrived safely last night in Beijing, an hour early on a very comfortable Air China flight – the emptiest I’d ever seen, so a good deal of sleep was had. Perhaps too much, which explains why I’m up at 3:45 am local time.

After a bit of a hunt in the dark with the taxi cab driver, we located the apartment, turned the key, and entered. The heat of course had not been on for months, so we stayed bundled up for at least 45 minutes while trying to figure out our heating options. (Ultimately, this involved inserting a plastic screw of sorts into the water heating box and turning it to release water from the pipes into the heating tank. As the tank was filling, our screw fell out and we scrambled to fit it back in before the tank overflowed. In the nick of time, we closed the valve, but it was so close to the full line that once the radiators started working – after more guesswork with the dials and the pilot light – the water heater started leaking steadily as the water expanded with the heat.) Anyway, I expect this to be just one of many “adventures” in getting settled here in Zhongguo. Similar procedures were necessary before I could get this internet connection to work!

The apartment is small but nicely appointed, with the baby grand in the living room and a lovely glass partition between the bathroom and the bedroom. There are still various layers of dust and soot in the apartment, but thorough cleaning and some new linens should do the trick.

We have an internet connection here that costs 33 cents an hour, not much at all, but that’s also enough to buy a nice breakfast. So I’ll be on periodically, with email and various IM services. I’ll still be using my UCSD email account.

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