Tuesday, July 26, 2011

FuJiaLou is Fu-Jia-No

A running theme for us this summer is that some of our old standbys are no longer open for business. There's the mala tang place in our old Saoziying neighborhood. And this is FuJiaLou, no ordinary, down-on-its-heels Beijing snack shop. In fact, a few years back, Andrew Zimmern, the host of a show called Bizarre Foods, made a pilgrimage to savor in some toufu, pig ear, and other local delicacies.

Man, I'm going to miss those cucumbers!

~Steve

Monday, July 25, 2011

Train Crash In China

Yes, we did ride a train this past weekend, traveling from the rural Hebei countryside back to Beijing.

As we rode the train north, up through a major thunderstorm, we encountered major delays, eventually spending seven hours or so on the train. (Not to mention the fact that by the time we eventually got back to Beijing, it was so late that there were hardly any taxis on the road, leaving us to negotiate with the driver of a hei che [black car...you get the idea]. Although the price was relatively high, it wasn't horrible, and our driver turned out to be an honest guy.)

Having been in a news blackout for a couple of days, we had no idea that there had just been a major train crash down in southern China, a terrible tragedy that was apparently caused by a train losing power after a lightning strike. And so it now makes sense to us why our train stopped on the tracks, with power, for quite a while, while lightning raged on in the fields all around us. (The same kind of thing, by the way, is going on with escalators all over the city, after an escalator at a subway station near our apartment collapsed, taking the life of a child and injuring many others. I don't believe we have encountered a moving escalator since then.)

Thank you to everyone for the messages of concern. It goes to show how in this age of global communications, the people nearest to the scene of a significant event can know much less about what's going on than people all the way over on the other side of the world.

~Steve