Friday, May 22, 2015

Residential vs Commercial - On the Road with Thomas 😎

Thomas (9) knows more than his mom about communities and zoning. At school he's recently been learning about what services (for example electricity, water, and sanitation) communities need, and he's also been building massive constructions in good old SIMCITY (see Thomas' blog). Thomas may also already know more than the Chinese government (no offense, dear censor) about urban development as he knows what residential, commercial, and industrial areas are, what they are good for, and why some need to be close together (commercial and residential) and others (industrial) perhaps a bit apart.

Still, he is only nine, so I was allowed to come on his field trip to explore a little patch of Beijing called MaiZiDian.

The last preparations in the classroom. Every morning the kids get instructions like this that are actually posted on a blog, just like this.

Here we are, in MaiZiDian. Time to find out what tasks to complete.

Thomas on a mission to mark down the types of businesses on the street.
Marking down the teashop (shown on right).
We had a chat with the ladies. It was supposed to be an interview...but let's just say that they loved to chat! They also asked the kids to sing a song, which led to a lot of consternation within the team!
More individuals in the community! Notice the various transport services.

I bet you haven't seen one of those in a long time! The picture on the right shows a little Kodak (柯达 or keda) Express shop.
I guess this guy is taking "bringing your smoking to the cleaners" too literally.

Delivery services and a long-haired blond Dutch-American.
More peeps in the community.
This lady was so kind to fix her hair for the photo.
I think this guy can break out into a Gangnam style dance any second. The last picture shows Thomas' school again, upon return. Also a very nice community!
In het Nederlands: I was gisteren even op excursie met Thomas. We gingen naar een wijkje met de naam MaiZiDian. Daar hebben de kinderen de gebouwen in kaart gebracht en met de bewoners gesproken over de veranderingen in hun wijk. Die veranderingen waren er wel, maar de dames waren meer geinteresseerd in kletsen met de kinderen dan in het beantwoorden van hun vragen!  

Monday, May 18, 2015

It's the Season to Be M...

My joke was going to be, "It's the Season to Be Moving," but I am afraid you would then think we are moving.
We are not.
But it is the season to be moving. The little foreigner-village where we live is full of yard sales and moving trucks. Every summer people move in and out, as most expatriates change location in July or August because it easier for the kids who have to change school. 
I could have also called this blog post, "rabbit on the move," as the only reason I am writing it is to show you the picture below. This week when I came back from the grocery store, I was biking behind a truck that had a rabbit in the back. It was hot that day, so the door had to be open to give the rabbit (and the guy sitting next to him in the back of the truck) some air to breathe. Somehow it was just such a comic sight -- this rabbit driving by with his precious paintings -- I had to let you share in the fun...
In het Nederlands: I moest lachen van de week toen ik toevallig achter deze vrachtwagen aan reed. Het is wat lastig te zien maar er zit een konijn achterin. Ik denk dat hij een nieuw groot konijnenhol had aangeschaft om al z'n schilderijen op te hangen! Het is weer verhuistijd bij ons in de wijk. In de zomer gaan altijd veel families verhuizen--hun baan achterna--om dan het nieuwe schooljaar op een andere plek weer te kunnen beginnen. 

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Hockey Night in Beijing

Friday night was HNIB--Hockey Night In Beijing! So while I should have been eating pasta or sleeping to prepare for the Great Wall run the next day, I was in my shorts at an ice hockey rink.
Truth be told: I only stayed for the opening minutes to see a little bit of the action and--most importantly--my neighbors' (American) kids bringing the American team on the ice.
The two kids with the red Capital shirts and American flags are the neighbors' kids. The guys in white zooming around the rink are "Team America." I am really sorry-- the video is "Blair Witch Project" quality, but the soundtrack--us screaming--is awesome, if I may yell so myself.
Team "World" is not impressed by the Americans. After the national anthem for the Americans, the big question was: What is the global anthem for Team World?  (.... We are the World, We are the Children...?)
The crowd went wild!
Team America
Another crappy picture. But this crappy one is official!
I don't have a picture of myself...focused as I was on the game. But I was wearing shorts and a thin shirt, so after 10 minutes of the game I had to leave the Americans and the World to fend for themselves; it was time to go home, eat pasta, and rest!
In het Nederlands: Vrijdagavond was het "Hockey Night In Beijing". Simon en Thomas spelen (leren) al een tijdje ijshockey op een baan vlakbij, en vrijdag was daar een goeie "Amerika tegen de Wereld" wedstrijd om het ijshockey in Beijing te promoten. Het was misschien geen Verizon Center in Washington DC (waar we vroeger vaak zaten) maar toch erg leuk. Stervenskoud was het er ook. Ik was eigenlijk niet van plan te gaan--maar wou toch even kijken--en na 10 minuten in de kou in een korte broek ben ik ook maar naar huis gegaan. Lekker slapen om de volgende dag naar de Muur te gaan...

Conquer the Wall...One Step at a Time

Yesterday I again set out with some friends to "Conquer the Wall," as the organizers of the Great Wall Marathon call it. It was a fantastic day. The sky was blue, the Wall was crooked, and the steps were many!

Last year--when I ran it for the first time--I was a bit in shell shock for running my first half-marathon, but this year I knew what was coming and was more mellow about the whole heavy-climbing and running experience. One of the best parts is seeing so many people from all over the world come to China for the marathon.

The team in pink was a group of senior citizens from Japan. The black number shows they are doing the marathon--a grueling experience that takes you twice up and down the Wall. I guess their elderly home decided to step up the exercise routine!
This is where we (half-marathon runners) will come down the Wall after the first 7 or so kilometers (and where the marathon runners come down and later...go up!)

Before take off...

During the run...
Great views all around.

...and at the end! It was a great feeling to "just be done with it" ;)

Partners in crime.
At the finish line, one guy (not someone I know) proposed to his girlfriend after 6 hours of running in the marathon. I guess he realized she was up for any challenge that day...
More happy faces afterwards...
Incredible blue sky.

The results. I had to take a picture because--excuse the bragging--I made it onto page 1 of the results for females. hahaha--that's pretty good I thought! Glad they didn't use tiny notecards for the results.

In het Nederlands: Gisteren was het weer tijd voor de halve marathon op de Chinese Muur. heeft er ook een filmje over. Nu ik hem voor de tweede keer rende had ik er nog meer lol in dan vorig jaar, ook al (of misschien juist omdat) ik nu wist wat me te wachten stond.  Het is soms moeilijk te genieten van het prachtige uitzicht als je vermoeide benen nog weer een trap op moeten, maar toch is het --vooral als het allemaal voorbij is-- een super marathon. ;)