Tag Archives: Beijing 2009

Wonderful to run-into Loren Clarke

I had the pleasure of running into Loren Clarke during a trip from 西直门 to 上地 during my recent trip to Beijing. Loren’s an interesting guy. He’s the author of a range of literature, from a part of The AIDS Reader to a new work, I Love Jazz. Loren’s also an English instructor to the Xinhua News Agency, and (most interesting of all) a true believer who came to the People’s Republic during Deng’s lifetime to help build communism.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get Loren’s email address, and the one online no longer works.

So Loren, if sometime you read this webpage, please comment, or send an email to dan@tdaxp.com. It would be wonderful to talk to you!

Today, Tomorrow, and Tomorrow the Day After

As I understand it, I will board an airplane late tomorrow morning, and arrive in San Francisco, earlier the same day.

United must have a time machine.

But why don’t they use it more often?

Probably Tim Geithner’s Fault.

If Tim Geither was spending the Treasury’s money on Time Machines instead of bailing out his Wall Street friends, we wouldn’t even be in this crisis!

PS: If this post is familiar, it is because I may be stuck in a time loop!!!!

Service for the People?

Many businesses operate according to the philosophy that they exist to take money from people. Merry Mart #24 in Beijing is under no such delusion.

First, let me back up and note that this was another great day in Beijing. Visited Gongs and Drums Lane, South Road in Xicheng District, Coal Hill, Houhai, the Bell Tower, and a very good hotpot restaurant.

Yet my dream of finishing the day on the same up-note was capriciously ground into the dirt. My attempt to finish the day by purchasing cornflakes for the morning was cruelty dashed by what I take to be a middle-aged female manager at Merry Mart #24. This grave injustice occurred even though other people were checking out at the time.

Serve the people, Merry Mart #24.

Is this the worst tragedy to befall a person — nay, a people — this year? Certainly. In living memory? Probably.

You will have succeeded in your selective enforcement of your closing hours, Merry Mart #24 in Beijing. But note the terrible cost of such a policy: tomorrow morning, I will not have two bowls of corn flake cereal, but only one.

The Marco Polo Bridge

You know that any day that begins with the most terrifying subway cartoon ever is going to be great


Actually, a stop, drop, and roll safety video

Yesterday we went to the Marco Polo Bridge, which is most famous in China for being the site of the Japanese invasion of China. After the establishment of Manchuko, Beijing was surrounded on three sides by the Japanese. Further, the Empire of Japan used the Boxer Protocols to station guards south of Beijing, as well. Imperial hostility, combined with one misplaced soldier, directly lead to an hours-long firefight on this bridge

As the Japanese would have seen it

and the start of World War II.

Numerous lions guard your way over the bridge, which are in various states of renovation and repair. This lion, for instance, has been substantially repaired at least two times, once quite compenently and the other… not


As you approach the Marco Polo Bridge from the north-east, there is a surprisingly moving memorial to Chinese losses in the War. The style reminds me of a combination of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (without the “ditch” so disliked by Senator Webb) and Pablo Picaso’s Guernica. Very well done.

As with everything in China, the scale is large

After the garden and the bridge, I went to the Museum of the War of Chinese People’s Resistance Against Japanese Aggression. Really, I did:

There is more English on this ticket than in the Museum

The Museum of the War of Chinese People’s Resistance Against Japanese Aggression is the hardest museum to get into I’ve been at in China. The Military Museum in Beijing supposedly requires a passport to get into, but last year I just walked up and was given a ticket. Not this time. The Museum of the War of Chinese People’s Resistance Against Japanese Aggression requires both a photo ID and proper attire (shorts are oK, but not sandals). My friend had a photo ID, I had shoes, and we had our priorities (me: gaining an inside account of how a Museum run of, by, and for the benefit of the Communist Party views the largest war of the 20th century; her: ice cream), so I was off to explore!

The museum was interesting, it contained both depictions of Communist Leaders

Intersting flags

The Flag of the Rising Sun and the Flag of the Five Races (RGROC or PGROC)

What is this?? — looks like a combination of the PRC and ROC flags

As well as a side-exhibit about the Olympics

Bathing Beauties

2008 Paralympic Uniforms

There were also some curiously inconsistent maps — for instance, is Mongolia part of China?


Kind Of?

Also, Kind Of

My guess is that the CCP considers Mongolia to have been a part of China until the establishment of the People’s Republic, and the ROC (even now) insists that “Outer Mongolia” is a province of China.

Near the end the Museum also emphasized the importance of openness. The KMT’s contribution is (at least partially) recognized in a gigantic painting depicting the surrounder of the Empire of Japan to the Republic of China:

When did this surrender happen?

And, in the very last room, a photograph celebrating the “Signing Ceremony on China’s Accession to the WTO.”

The People’s Victory

Our journey was made all the more interesting that we got there entirely with public transportation, taking a citi bus from Line 1 to the site. South-west Beijing is a different type of city — more country-side, as my friend would say. I saw more horses on this side trip than I have in the last two years combined.

A fascinating trip!

Baroque Beijing

You would be forgiven for thinking that Beijing was gearing up to be the filming location for the Hobbit

Or perhaps a movie about Stonehenge

Or even Arcadia

Eventually, though, there are clues you are actually in a Chinese park:

This is the Old Summer Palace, built by Giuseppe Castiglione and Michel Benoist for the Qianlong Emperor. Qianglong is better known for his feud with George Macartney. Qianlong’s famously remarked to Macart9ney (actually, in a letter to King George III):

As your Ambassador can see for himself, we possess all things. I set no value on objects strange or ingenious, and have no use for your country’s manufactures.

Maybe he just preferred Italian craftsmanship?

Macartney, for his part, summed up the Manchu Apartheid State as follows: “The Government, as it stands, is properly the tyranny of a handful of Tatars over more than three hundred millions of Chinese.” Both Republican and Communist revolutionaries would agree.

The Summer Palace was destroyed in October 18, 1860, as retaliation for the murder of British and Indian personnel. Now, it is one of the most unusual parks in Beijing!

Beijing manners

This is my fourth month over four years in Beijing, so I don’t have as much cultural shock as I once did. Still, two events (one today, and one yesterday) serve to remind me that I am not at home.

First, I was given a bag of fungus as a gift.


Second, I was told both that I was too fat and not eating enough. This was within three minutes of each other. By the same people. Unless I am an incompetent anorexic, I can’t be doing both.

I am enjoying my trip to Beijing immensely. Now, off to Pizza Hut!

The Ascent into Heaven

Yesterday, June 11th, I went to Heaven.

The beginning of the Trail

The end of the trail (squint)

Actually I went to the top of Mount Tai, in Shandong Province. Still signs kept assuring me that I was entering heaven, and after the long hike (Taishan is 3,000 year old pilgrimate site nearly a mile high), I was glad for such encouragement!

“Welcome to Heaven”

“Now You Become a God”

“The South Gate of Heaven”

“1 Heaven Road”

Once there, we enjoyed the sites, whether cultural, natural, or culinary/

The Dai Miao Temple Complex in Heaven

Buddhism is popular in Heaven

Omniscience, obscured by pollution

Delicious heavely omeletes!

After a 100 kuai meal of two bowls of noodles and one instant coffee (

Taking the easy way down!

Three Good Meals

This morning, we ate at Daylight Donuts, where dark roast coffee and delicious donuts (obviously) greeted us. Daylight Donuts in Beijing is across from the Beijing Institute of Technology in the Haidian District, 魏公村路8号院‎.. In Sioux Falls, Daylight Donuts is on 333 S Minnesota Avenue.

Following this, we had hotspot with lamb, fish, beef, and other meets and vegetables. The in-laws treated us. I dreamt about this restaurant for a year, since my last visit. Yumm!

And at dinner we ate at grandpa’s, with an aunt and an uncle joining us.

Three good meals makes for one good day!