Reflections on a Wandering Life.....

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A group of my students prepared a birthday party for me this evening complete with a cake that said, "We are all your children." Nice kids. I don't think to much about birthdays at this stage of the game. But they really wanted to have a party for me, and it was a nice evening.

In China, young people will often by a cake, and then invite all their friends. Sometimes it can be confusing, because some Chinese young people choose to celebrate their birthday according to the lunar calendar, which means that their birthday is on a different day every year, just like Easter or Spring Festival.

Fifty-nine years old. I moved to Beijing when I was 49, so I have spent all of my fifties in China. The fifties are good years if you're in good health. I still need someone to rescue me from all this delicious food, though. It's just too easy. Some stuff is expensive, but most is not. For example, there are expensive sushi bars where you can get high-priced Japanese delicacies. But I usually go to a nice little restaurant in Wudaokou that serves oyakodonburi or katsudon for 22 kuai. And the university cafeteria has delicous made to order dishes for about 10 kuai. Duck leg in a bed of rice and potatos. Delicious. Saizeria, a Japanese company that serves Italian food, has various spaghetti dishes for 12-13 RMB. Two bucks.

Three years ago I moved to the mountain to facilitate getting better exercise, because I do like hiking, and its so much easier to do it if you live right at the foot of the mountain. But that's another thing. Basic bus fair is 1 kuai, but the city gives you a 60 per cent discount if you use a bus card, so that brings it down to 4 mao. About 7 cents. My monthly expense for traveling around Beijing is about what most Americans pay for two or three gallons of gas. So I haven't done any bike riding since my fourth bike was stolen, so I really do need to be in the hills. It's a trade off, I guess. A bike is useless in the hills, but if I'm really in the hills, that's actually better than riding a bike.

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