4A Beijing Residency
I woke up at 630am and went about my morning routine before heading out for another run, it’s nice getting my lungs up a little and trotting around a bit longer each day. I’m certainly not running marathons here, 5-6 km maximum, just enough to feel like I’m not getting obese. After breakfast we all got back into our nerd suits and tacked away writing grants and researching projects. Lunch was a little later today which was fine with me, I’d been chomping those amazing pancake things all morning and drinking loads of coffee. After lunch it was back to writing, Justin and I booked ourselves a very nice hotel in Beijing for a few nights later in the week. I wrote and napped and wrote and headed out for a bit of a walk around 530pm. I headed the other way and wandered around taking photos for a while. On the way back I decided to go up to the roof of the complex next door via a huge set of exterior stairs. The concrete looks like it’s crumbling away from the wall and I really put my trust in the rusty metal hand rails. The whole place looked like a hulking soviet bloc but I was rewarded with sweeping views of the town to the mountains beyond and a view all the way to Beijing 40km away. The weather has been really clear out here. On the roof there was a glass maze and I could see into some of the single room dwellings in the empty buildings around me. Only one was occupied from what I could gather, a tiny desk fan was the only movement in the whole place. I felt very grateful that we had the star treatment next door at Shen’s, full of life and food. I headed back and hung out with Romaine for a while, she has the best stories of a life filled with activism over the years, everything from actual bra burning and Aids activism to the Tiananmen Square events that entered her life and the people who came to Australia as a result. She’s been around so much history and it’s awesome having her here. We all helped make dumplings, we definitely didn’t have a knack for it and got a bit abstract with our shaping. We had a dumpling feast and Shen brought out a huge bottle of Yellow Wine in a sealed ceramic vase that had to be opened with a hammer. It was then heated up and we were required to make endless toasts and drain our cups until we were all a little rolly. Justin disappeared off to bed and we all headed into the cinema to watch a movie. I started watching Wall Street which was full of very uncharming characters but I couldn’t keep my eyes open and went to bed.