Published: May 19th 2012May 19th 2012
I met Tano in the morning, and save my first day existence.
Tano is an Italian editor from Sicilia that was working in doing an AfterEffect project for a month here. A guy that know how to get Facebook here.
He spent time showing me the map, help me taking tickets for the metro, actually he payed my trip (2Y) and we walked together around the Huntongs area in the north west near the Bell Tower. We eat at Modernista. An occident restaurant where I ordered Spinach & Cheese Empanadas with a frozen beer was allowing me to breath again under the sun.
We walked around areas I will be scared to enter alone in the first day visit. Small, tiny street, the old town of the city where 5 to even 10 families live behind a door. Communal village with a touristic , chic and commercial vibe in some streets, but very traditional and poor aspect in the next corner. Some people here sleep, sleep during the day in the street, because it is too hot or because they have been working during the night.
I walked around these streets waving the local workers bikers that ride for tourist showing them around counting on their legs strength and motivation to make some few Y. They were like my memories of the houses near Palermo Zoo, but happier, Ni Hao, Ni Hao!
I put my white school Uniform and Tano shot me walking around. It was fun. I believe locals thinks I am a dentist, a doctor or a completely crazy tourist under the sun with long uniform sleeves.
Around 4 Tano left me going to the train station, he went to Xian, he will send me the tips for that city.. Thanks Universe for Tano in this path.
It was hot all the time, even you shower 5 minutes ago, you feel sticky, almost wet all the time, finally during the evening rain a little bit:( but I still have jet lag and at 8.30 I feel asleep with the lights on, people was doing noises around me all the time, I even heart an argentine accent but maybe I was dreaming…! I woke up and it is 12 pm…I can not sleep now… even tomorrow I need to walk up at 5 to walk around the Great Wall.
I saw all sort of interesting visual images during my day. Guys like to roll their t-shirt and show their bellies. Yes it is hot, but is this necesarry? My ethnocentric sense of beuty and fashion is probable restricting my view, but come on guys, it is not sexy....My top hit are people in pijamas walking around and not feeling weird at all under the sun. The dirt, a complete different concept of what does it mean to be clean, to look clean, to maintain cleanness. There are public restroom everywhere, you just enter and do you things, standing up. No restrooms inside stores or restaurants in this area. Funny but true. Homes did not have restrooms; remember this is an old area. And when you think in old, in China is really old.
I was impressed by the diverse type of food in the streets. The availability of all type of interesting treats.
The trendy ice creams, most kids have it, it is a yellow stick that you peel like a banana, the outside is like a gummy yellow , and the interior is a creamy bar.
But the sad image, the one you cannot dismiss even if you want to avoid this bit foggy image: it is the pollution. Is so present, is incredible but real, is not a concept is a sad reality. Millions of particles of white bubble fly around, it cannot be a plant, or anything else but the traces of the pollution you witness covering all the buildings and it makes tear your eyes ones in a while. Oh my god, I am scare for this population. They will all die soon of cancer or something similar.
If you thought Mexico has the worst city environment problem, think twice, you are so wrong, Beijing is the worst place ever in this regard. I do not know what is the solution, but this is scary.