Beijing – New Year’s Eve Out

For our New Year’s Eve dinner, T. suggested we eat at a Spanish restaurant he had been to before, Tapas. Seemed appropriate since half of our group were Spaniards. It was a really nice place. There was a mix of Westerners and Chinese dining. We had some really excellent food and wine. I wish I had felt better but it was fun anyway. In Spain, it is a tradition to eat a grape at each chime of midnight, so that you end up with 12 grapes and your mouth completely full. We tried to do that, but the waiter had not brought enough grapes. We left after 1AM to meet up with the rest of the group at a nearby dance club.

Here we are at Tapas: DH, Myself & M. and T., DH and Myself:
DH, Myself & M at Tapas T., DH and myself at Tapas

At the dance club I began to realize that many of the things I had noticed about Beijing were very different from the experiences I had had in Shijiazhuang. I guess I had a bit of an epiphany where I realized – Huh, all my students were right! (Many of the students had told me that Shijiazhuang is a very small city and very rural and not as fun/nice as their hometowns.) I just thought they were more partial to their hometowns. I’m not saying anything bad about the people in Shijiazhuang, but I guess I had unconsciously decided that all of China must be like it. Well, maybe it is, but Beijing sure isn’t. For example, we were not nearly the celebrities we are back in SJZ. In Beijing, people didn’t stop everything they were doing to stare at us. They must see so many Westerners that we are not so special.

Another thing is that in Beijing there are a lot of bicycles, but nothing like in SJZ. The whole city seems more like a city. The streets are wide, the sidewalks clean. The air is noticeably cleaner, although there is still a great deal of pollution. The traffic is not as crazy, although still chaotic. It is the capital, I suppose it must be bigger, more modern and better than a provincial city, right?

I think that I really needed this trip to remember that I am living in one very small part of a very big country, and I have much to explore!

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