I continue my journey through Beijing. It’s hard to imagine, because the temperature is in the 90s today and I’m wearing a short sundress with pajama bottoms as I type this, but when I went to Beijing, it was REALLY cold. Freeeeeezing cold. The deepest cold that I’ve ever experienced in my life. I was wearing a thick coat with about 8 layers, and I certainly had put on an extra layer of, shall we say, “padding,” the last year, but I was still frozen to the core.
Except when I went inside.
That’s also hard to imagine. I grew up in houses that had decent insulation, and where it was generally warm-ish in the winter, even if snow was falling outside. China was the same way. Japan, though, is completely different. I’ve talked to Japanese people who, when I asked them about insulation, had never even heard of such a thing.
30 seconds after you turn off the heater in the winter, you can see frost in the air when you breathe, and even in a room with the shades drawn and air conditioning blasting in the summer, it’s hard to get cool. There’s a damp chill or mysterious foggy heat in the air no matter what, since Japanese houses generally don’t have insulation. If I ever built a house in Japan for some reason, there is no doubt in my mind that I would lay the insulation on thick. 🙂
Maybe someday soon, I’ll move into one of the nice new apartments here, with skyhigh rent, that have great insulation. And kitchen counters. 🙂 We can all dream. 🙂
But back to Beijing. It was really, really cold outside, but nice and toasty inside most places. I had also not seen that much snow in years. 🙂 Probably because this was before I had went to the Sapporo Snow Festival. All of my pictures of the snow festival are lost, though I’ve been asking around hoping to get a few from friends.
YES, BUT BACK TO BEIJING! I just get lost thinking of the chill, while sitting in a 90-degree apartment waiting for my new house to be delivered. 🙂
On the morning of my fourth day in Beijing, I was all set to go out on my own and search for something called the LAMA temple.
I got lost, though, and ended up at the Drum Tower. It was really gorgeous, though I was pretty exhausted from wandering around (according to my diary)!
The view from the Drum tower was gorgeous. Beijing is really smoggy, and it was chilly enough that a fog hung in the air, too. There was also nearly nobody around, so I felt as if I was standing on a precipice, looking down over the small ants scurrying about below,
driving their buses around going through the daily motions of life. It was a bit surreal, and very lonely, but not in a bad way.
I got going on foot (because I hadn’t yet figured out the subways, and riding in a taxi was scary when I couldn’t speak any Chinese), and eventually ended up at the LAMA temple. Little did I know that most of the exhibits didn’t allow photographs! Phooey!
I wonder why. As long as I didn’t use a flash and there was no religious reason, there shouldn’t be a rule against photos of objects, right? It would have been nice to be able to share it all with you.
These pictures kind of blend together for me. I think that I could take better ones now, but they are decent in their own rights. What do you think? 🙂
There is one thing that was funny, though. A random Chinese woman stopped me and asked me in english, to take a picture with her.
Maybe it was my crazy orange hair?
Tomorrow, it’s on to the Ancient Observatory and city wall! Two of my favorite sights from that time in Beijing!
I feel so nostalgic. 🙂