Wednesday, September 10, 2008

What's Black and White and Read All Over?

It's the newspaper that the man in the background is holding. (See him over there on the bridge behind Desi?) More about the man in black in a minute...

Over the past few weeks, we have walked down plenty of streets that have been regular old Beijing dajie. Nothing unusual or interesting about them to a person who lives here. (Now, a total newbie would be astounded to walk down any avenue...spitters and nose pickers everywhere, Olympic "volunteers" whittling the day away on tiny stools, motor scooters whizzing by with little kids standing in front of their driving parents.) Our mantra has been to just walk, because you never know when an ordinary place is going to turn into something really special.

This happened just the other day. Desi and I were walking through the neighborhood near Julie and Z's school. By now, our eyes are trained well enough to know that down this one alley there seemed to be a park. (Trust me, we would have walked right past it when we first got here.)

The park turned out to be a real hidden gem. A beautiful lake filled with lotus. Ayis kicking around a Chinese-style hacky sack. Some guys playing the erhu. (That awesome Chinese string've heard it...) A tea house that serves delicious oolong to drink and Beijing snacks to eat. (The closest thing to Ching Ching Cha we've come across.)

Then came the real treat. We were sitting there watching some little buddhas being fussed over by their parents and grandparents. There was this guy sitting nearby, dressed all in black, who didn't seem to fit the scene. Then, when we got up, he also got up and headed in the same direction behind us. After an hour and a half in the tea house, there he was, chilling outside, enjoying the weather. When we stopped to take pictures, he also took a break and admired the trees. Were we about to be detained? Nah...this just seemed to be a weird kind of thing that might happen to waiguoren walking around a park that is far, far off of the tourist trail.

Anyways, at one point, we decided that it would nice to have a photo of the two of us in this picturesque place. No need to search around for a willing paparazzi. There he was, hanging out just a few yards away. Which is where he remained until we finally decided to head out of the park and back out into the streets of Beijing, looking for the next everyday looking place that might be hiding a treasure well worth seeking out...



At 11:38 PM, Blogger Barbra said...

I think the guy in black would have creeped me out. Weren't you afraid of who he was?
PS-beautiful park though

At 2:23 AM, Blogger The Balla Family said...

He just didn't look threatening. Now, this morning, I was out for a run, and a guard told me I couldn't go a certain way. He had _that_ look, so I turned around and went back from where I came!



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