BISS “On the Road”, Day 1, 9/25/13

The banking story continues.  There are many layers and steps to the story, but ultimately, I believe I’ve got the problem solved, the account is set-up, and the transfer is sent.  Now, we wait to see if it goes through.

Judy is spending her day traveling with “BISS on the Road”.  It’s an activity where each grade level goes out of the school and does field trips all over town.  The older grades go out of Beijing and spend several nights out.  It’s an effort to get the kids out into the town and the countryside and to “see” China.  On Friday of the “week”, each grade level combines their photos and videos and put together a video presentation of their experiences.

Judy is with 6th grade this week, for two days.  When we get back from the holiday that’s coming up, she’ll go out with the 2nd graders.  She has four students assigned to her when they’re out.  Today they visited several really great sites located around The Forbidden City.  They did a scavenger hunt in a Hutong (small traditional neighborhood) that specializes in shops full of antiques, rare coins, etc.  They visited a gorgeous park with great views of the entire city.  They ate traditional Peking Duck in a restaurant Judy says we’ve must revisit.  They visited an exhibition center with a huge map of Beijing, under glass.  The students are able to walk on top of it.  Sections of it not under the glass had models, to scale, of the city.  They were able to find their school.

View from Jingshan Park into the Forbidden City

The view into the Forbidden City from JingShan ParkMap of BeijingHuge Beijing City Map, under glass.

Map buildings

Beijing map, buildings to scale.

Beijing Map, BISS

Beijing map, building models to scale. BISS is the school in the bottom left corner. If you look close, you can seek the track.

Monday/Tuesday, 9/23-24/13

MONDAY, 9/23/13

The day starts slow but build up as it progresses.  Judy takes off for school, and I settle in to begin writing the website entries for Thursday through Sunday.  Lillie calls and says the dryer repair guy is coming from 10:00 to 10:30.  He shows up at 10:30 and goes right to work.  He replaces a broken belt and we now have air circulating through the dryer.  After running a load I begin to hear a squeal.  It sounds like a belt squealing, so maybe I’m not through with dryer repair guy after all.

Judy gets the official fapiao (tax statement) on our apartment, so we head to the police station when she gets home.  We have passports, copy of the lease, and the fapiao on the apartment lease from BISS.  We guide the taxi to the station, which is way off the beaten path.  Only two people in line ahead of us, and 15 minutes later, we’re walking out, with our official “Residence Registration”.  I’m so excited to get that over with, successfully, I want to celebrate (that means eat a big dinner).  However, we “celebrated” with a lot of food in Korea, so it’s back to the apartment and sandwiches tonight.

We bought some tea on one of our excursions a few weeks back, but hadn’t tried it yet.  I purchased a cheap electric teapot, and we experiment with our tea.  It’s a nice change from our regular diet coke.  Time will tell if we actually become “tea” (as in hot) drinkers.  We’re already iced tea drinkers.  One of the little cultural things you learn here is to ask for cold water.  If you don’t, it’s hot water, and I mean scalding hot.

TUESDAY, 9/24/13

Lillie has rescheduled the apartment cleaning for Wed./Fri. this week, so no visitors.  I spend most of the day, working on solutions for two problems.  The first is where to travel during our Chinese New Years Holiday, the last week of January.  I think we’ve settled on the beaches in Phuket, Thailand.  The main question is the quality of our hotel property, and whether or not to add a day or two in another city, close to Phuket.  We’ll probably end up in Bangkok for a few days.  I’m not sure what we’ll do, but there are bound to be some city tours, etc.

The 2nd problem to be solved is how to send a wire transfer to our moving company.  They’re almost ready to bring our stuff (23 boxes of stuff, not sure where we’re going to put it).  I can’t seem to set it up through Chase.  They want to send me a confirmation code to establish the wire account.  They want to call or text it to me, but they won’t call or text China.  The only number they’ll call or text are our US phone numbers, which are non-functioning.  I’ll finish the story tomorrow on the bank, when I know more myself.  As you might expect, this is really frustrating since I worked hard before we left the US to assure we wouldn’t have these kinds of problems.

Sunday Make-up Day, 9/22/13

It’s a workday for me!  Today is the make-up day for the Friday holiday, as designated by the Chinese government.  My two classes begin at 9:50, so I head to the train around 8:00.   Everything goes smoothly and I’m in the doors of BHSFIC at 9:00 am.  Classes go well.  When I mentioned I’d been to Korea, one of the students asked if I was in the South or the North.  Laughs all around!  We’re starting off each class with rhythmic reading and the students are beginning to get the hang of it.

Judy is visiting IKEA today, looking for clocks, rugs, and lamps.  When I get home, she’s had a successful trip.  She got in and out easily before all the crowds hit.  She’s moving stuff all over the apartment, arranging places for the new purchases.

As soon as she finishes, we walk the mile to Metro.  It’s time for a few groceries.  For the first time, we notice some sports outlet stores in the same building.  There’s a Nike Store, Adidas, and several others.   We continue our shopping excursion in Metro, buying groceries, and just generally wandering around the store.  Like many of the other stores, I’ve been in them a lot, but Judy hasn’t been near them since our first visits two months ago.

When we get back to the apartment, everything gets put away, and we begin to plan for the week.  We have to register at the police station again, since we left China on our trip.  Judy has a big week of travel coming up with “BISS on the Road”.  You’ll get more info as the week rolls along.  I have teaching days on Thursday, Friday, and Sunday (another make-up day).  Man, I’m really having to work this week.  Also, my clubs meet this week.  I’ll get to meet my groups and plan our year ahead.

Beijing Return, 9/21/13

We wake up looking forward to the breakfast buffet.  It was worth it!  We catch a taxi to Gimpo Airport.  We’re flying out of a different airport than our arrival, so we’re getting the Seoul airport tour.  It’s not as nice as Incheon, but when we finally find where to check in, it’s easy.

The flight is smooth with a meal served along with coffee and soft drinks.  We arrive in Beijing on time.  Customs clearance is easy.  I keep expecting problems and everything is going smoothly.  We’re home by 2:45 pm.  It’s been a great trip. We unpack quickly and begin recovery mode (nap).

When we wake up, Judy heads over to the mall for some repair work on her nails.  I fiddle around with receipts from the trip.  It’s important to keep track of everything.  BISS has a system set-up where you can earn up to ½ of your government income tax back.  You must turn in all travel receipts, and they credit it against a flex account they’re holding for each teacher.  If you don’t use it, you lose it, so I guess we’ll just have to do a lot of traveling.

Judy is gone a long time.  I begin to realize she’s been so busy with school, and class prep that she hasn’t ever been in the local mall by herself.  She hasn’t been in a grocery store since July 28.  She’s finally finding out what’s available in our neighborhood.  I may even let her have money the next time she goes out (joke).

I finish up my class prep, since I’m teaching class tomorrow.  Sunday is a “make-up” day for our missed Friday class day.  The government determines the holidays and the makeup days.  This is true for all businesses, not just the schools.  It’s one of the few nights we’ve been in Beijing that I have school tomorrow and Judy doesn’t.

DMZ, 9/20/13

Day 2 in Seoul starts off the same as day 1, with pastries and caffeine.  We’re picked up a few minutes later along with German couple, also staying out our hotel.  We drive in the van to a spot where we meet a large coach bus.  The bus fills and we start the drive north to the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone).  It’s the heavily guarded area between North and South Korea.  It’s approximately 55 kilometers from Seoul.  Most of the route is along a river lined with high barbed wire fences and elevated guard buildings.  The guide later tells us they’re guarding against North Korean infiltration.

One hour later, we arrive at a tourist stop for a 20-minute break (snacks, etc.) and then travel to “The 3rd Tunnel”.  It’s a tunnel the South Koreans say was built by North Korea to infiltrate the South.  North Korea disagrees, and says they were mining coal.  South Korea has found 3 other similar tunnels since 1953.  Anyway, entry is down a long (really long) ramp.  Of course, what goes down, must come up, so we’re not looking forward to the walk out.

As we’re going in we’re given “hard hats”.  At the bottom of the ramp is a long tunnel.  The tunnel is just low enough so that Judy goes through untouched.  I, on the other hand, spend most of my time slightly bent over, bumping my head every 5 – 10 feet.  I get a really good scratch on my forehead when one of the “bumps” knocks my hard hat.   At the end of the tunnel, a steel door has been placed, blocking access.  It’s supposed to be about 150 meters from the actual border with North Korea.

The tunnel is narrow and damp.  Apparently the North Koreans weren’t anticipating the tourist crowds when they built it.  The climb out was what we expected, long and tiring.  We’re both winded when we get to the top.  Most of the visitors are suffering the same symptoms as they reach the top.


The next stop is the Dora Observatory, a mountaintop area with “pay telescopes”, for visitors to look out across the DMZ into North Korea.  It’s a little foggy today so the view is limited.  We are able to see the Kaesong Industrial Complex, a joint venture in the DMZ between the North and South.  It’s been in the news lately because it just reopened Monday (9/16) after N. Korea shut it down in March.   There is lot of talk on the tour about the family reunions between North & South that are about to take place.  It would be the second reunion since 1953 (the first took place 3 years ago).

Last stop on the DMZ tour is the Dorason Train Station.  It’s the last train station on a major train line that leads into North Korea.  The railroad line goes all the way Europe, so if the North ever opens up, this will be an important place.  It opened in 2002 to great fanfare (George W Bush attended).  It was a commuter train stop from Seoul for tourists until 2008, but a lady was shot when she wandered into a forbidden area, so the trains stopped running.


Much of Korea’s contemporary history revolves around WWII and the Korean War.  The constant “saber rattling” in the North keeps everyone on their toes.  Our guide was in the Korean military, and he’s convinced that North Korea is still working hard to overthrow the South and reunite.  The vibe on this tour is definitely “vigilance”.

After our return to Seoul and another Korean lunch, we taxi back to our hotel.  I nap and then start updating all our Apple devices to the new IOS 7.  The hotel has faster internet than Beijing, so I’m taking advantage.  Judy walks to the mall, connected to our hotel, for some window-shopping.  We have a late dinner, and organize our stuff for our Beijing return tomorrow.

Seoul, Day One, 9/19/13

It’s hard to get out of bed after the long day of school and travel yesterday, but tours await us.  We get rolling, aided by our respective caffeine kick (diet coke for Judy, coffee for me) and some fresh pastries from a lobby shop.

We’re picked up by a small bus with a few other tourists on board and drive into downtown Seoul, about 10 minutes away.  We pick up a few more tourists, and head to our first stop, the Jogyesa Buddhist Temple.  We’re told that today is the biggest holiday in Korea, their “Thanksgiving Day” and a time for reunions and memorial services for families.

The temple is very large with 3 large statues on the inside.  There are many people leaving gifts in memory of family (water bottles, money, flowers).  There are also many people in prayer, combined with bowing.  The grounds are full of visitors, some in traditional Korean attire, celebrating the holiday.  As you see some of our pictures, you’ll see what I’m talking about with the clothes.  The small children are really cute.


Jogyesa Buddhist Temple

Jogyesa Buddhist Temple

Temple 2

Baby Buddha with gifts

Temple 3

We travel next to Gyeongbokgung Palace, one of the homes of the Joseon Dynasty, the rulers of Korea from 1392 to 1910.  There is a very elaborate “Changing of the Royal Guard” ceremony in traditional uniforms, complete with a small group of musicians with drums and horns.  The grounds are huge with very ornate and detailed buildings.  We lose two of the people from our tour while walking through the grounds.  It’s very crowded.  Our guide knows her information pretty well, but the handling of the group is not so good.  She tends to stop in gate entrances to begin her explanations, blocking entry for everyone else, and creating a lot of jostling as people try to squeeze by.  After traveling with large groups for so many years, I seem to pay more attention to the tour logistics than to the actual sites we’re supposed to be observing.

Gyeongbokgung Palace Entrance

Gyeongbokgung Palace Entrance

Changing of the Royal Guard

Changing of the Royal Guard

G.Palace Guard 2

G.Palace 2 G.Palace 5

G.Palace 1 G.Palace 3 G.Palace 4

Blue House

The “Blue House” – the home of the Korean President, similar to the US White House. During the 1980’s, 35 North Korean special forces attacked this building trying to assassinate the Korean President.

Our next stop is the Ginseng Center.  Similar to the Jade Factory in Beijing, this is a “required” stop for tour groups.  There is an explanation of the benefits of Ginseng to the body (it seems to cure everything), and then how it is grown (it takes 6 years).  After the explanation, we’re walked into a “sales” area.  The door is closed behind us as we enter, and the sales staff has a captive audience.  We get to try some Ginseng tea, and all the sales package possibilities are discussed, and then we get to leave.  There are not many sales in our group, but we saw other groups exiting with large boxes.

We have lunch at a traditional Korean restaurant.  Judy has a rice/vegetable dish she loves.  I have a Korean BBQ dish that is equally good.  The chopsticks are metal, and tougher to handle than what we’ve become accustomed to.

Bulgogi - Korean BBQ

Bulgogi – Korean BBQ

Bibimpap - Rice and vegetables

Bibimpap – Rice and vegetables

After lunch, it’s off to Changdeokgung Palace, considered the best preserved of the Joseon Dynasty palaces.  The architecture seems similar and the grounds are huge.  These palaces had to be rebuilt after WWII because the Japanese burned them to the ground during the Japanese Colonial Period, 1910 to 1937.  As our tour guide said early in the tour, “the relationship between Korea and Japan is complicated”.  I think that was PC tour guide talk for “intense dislike”.

Changdeokgung Palace

Changdeokgung Palace


C.Palace 3 C.Palace 5

C.Palace 6

Judy thought there was a resemblance?

C.Palace 4

We finished off the day with trips to two of Seoul’s most popular markets.  Both had street food available and you could bargain for items if you wished.  They were not nearly as aggressive as the markets we’ve visited in Beijing.

Insadong Market

Insadong Market

Insadong Market 2

I'm always checking out the street food in the markets.  Look close for the octopus.  Yum!

I’m always checking out the street food in the markets. Look close for the octopus. Yum!

We napped some on our return to the hotel, and finished off the day with a great meal in the hotel restaurant.  We enjoyed getting back to some “western” food like mashed potatoes and gravy (speaking for myself).  We’ll be refreshed and ready for the DMZ tour tomorrow.

Seoul! Here we come!, 9/18/13

It’s a travel day!  Judy gets off to work and I start organizing the items I’m going to need.  We are heading to Seoul, South Korea for a few days.  After packing, catching up on my blog writing, and preparing my class materials for the Sunday make-up day, I get bored and decide to pick up some items at Metro.  Our diet coke supply is dwindling.

It’s a one mile walk, and the weather is gorgeous.  I get my groceries, load them in my “Canton” cart, and debate walking or riding back to the apartment.  I choose the taxi, and as I’m loading my cart into the trunk of the taxi, I break off one of the wheels.  It was cheap, and I had already been eyeing some upgrade versions.  I drag it into the apartment, unload everything, and make final preparations for our departure.

Lillie has called and said the repairman won’t be coming today after all, and he’ll reschedule next week.  Darn!  I was hoping to get that problem solved quickly.  Judy gets home around 4:15, hurriedly changes clothes, finalizes her luggage, and we’re out the door by 4:40.  We catch a taxi and dive into the heavy “holiday” traffic.

The “Mid-Autumn Moon Festival” is very important.  It’s considered the 2nd most important holiday after the New Year.  We’ve been hearing talk about “moon cakes” for weeks.  Judy described the festive atmosphere at school with the students and the Chinese teachers.  Almost every class came in with their own moon cakes for her to sample.  BISS had a ½ day with students, followed by a really special meal, “moon cakes making” demonstrations, and some less-than-exciting staff development.

We get to the airport fairly quickly (45 minutes), and start trying to figure out how to check in.  It’s set-up much different than the US airports I’ve been in.  The International ticketing area is almost empty.  We are quick to check in and then head over to security.  This is also slightly different than the US version.  The “wanding” is very thorough.  They didn’t miss a spot.  At least we don’t have to take off our shoes, belts, etc.  I don’t think I’ll be needing a massage anytime soon, either.

The gate area has many upscale shops, but not many people.  I don’t remember being in an airport this empty in a long time.  Maybe the domestic flight area is crowded.  There was a lot of traffic coming in.  Everything here is quiet and subdued.

I exchange some Chinese RMB for Korean Won (we’re arriving late in Seoul).  We load with no problem, and the flight takes off after a brief time holding on the runway.  Actual airtime is about 1 ½ hours.  During that time the attendants make a “drink run” through the cabin, serve a full meal (yes, a meal), pick up the trash, make a drink “top-off” run, and then buckle us in for landing.  We touched down at 10:00 pm, (Seoul time), one hour ahead of Beijing.

Incheon Airport is huge and modern.  We make our way to Customs, where the line isn’t long, but time-consuming.  We clear with no problems, find our suitcase, and are out the front door.  We’re approached by several unofficial taxi drivers (we’ve been warned about them), and keep walking.  We’re on the Express Bus that departs 10 minutes later.  We arrive at a bus stop on a street in Gangnam, a Seoul suburb, and hour later.  The driver points us in the direction of our hotel.  It’s close, but not an easy walk at midnight.  Not many people available that time of night to ask questions (assuming they could speak English).

We eventually find our way in.  We’re staying at the JW Marriott Seoul.  It’s really nice!  It’s going to be hard to convince Judy to leave the hotel tomorrow.  If there are enough pillows in the room (which there are), she might never wake up.

Tuesday, 9/17/13

Thought today was going to be easy, but it got a little tougher when our clothes dryer quit blowing.  It spins, but no air is circulating.  It doesn’t dry too well when that’s the situation, and it’s raining outside, so the humidity is really high.  The clothes (two loads), are not going to dry very quickly hanging all over the apartment.  Lillie, our ayi, is coming today, and I have a pretty good list of jobs for her that have little to do with cleaning.

When she arrives, I have her translate the dryer manual, looking for a troubleshooting section.  It doesn’t exist, but she finds a phone number, and after a few calls, a repair tech is scheduled to come tomorrow.  He’s to call her and tell her when he’s coming, and she’ll call me and tell me when to expect him.  I hope she can arrange to come over also.  There’s nothing quite like appliance repair with a language barrier.  I’ve been working on my “I don’t know” shoulder shrug.  It’s pretty convincing.

Lillie then calls UHN management about the hot water.  They send over a maintenance guy (I recognize him from a few previous visits).  He arrives and starts checking the hot water meters in both bathrooms.  He tells me we have lots of hot water charged up.  In fact, we have so much that the card won’t load.  We’ll have to wait until it stops, and then reload it from the card that has 500y on it.

The maintenance guy goes to the outside hallway where there are water lines for all the apartments on the floor.  Lillie has told him the hot water isn’t hot enough.  He opens up an access hole in one of the lines and tries to clean it out.  After banging on the lines, he has me check the temperature on the pipe, and it’s hot.  He tells me the water won’t get really hot until the government turns on the gas for heating on November 15.  Thank goodness Lillie can translate all this.  I’ll have some good answers for Judy when she gets home.  My shrug doesn’t work on her very well.

Having solved all our translation issues for the day, Lillie goes to work on the apartment.  I begin to finalize travel details for our Korea trip tomorrow.  When Judy gets home, we nail down all the suitcase decisions, and she starts making clothes decisions, based on the current weather forecast for Seoul.  Right now, the temps are supposed to be middle 80’s for the highs, and middle 60s for the lows.  The only chance for rain is supposed to be 10% on Saturday, our return day.

My immediate concern is how to get from Incheon Airport to our hotel at 10:30 pm.  We’ll be in a different country.  I’m not sure how many language snafus’ we’ll experience.  There are taxis (very expensive), and an Express Bus that delivers very close to our hotel (much cheaper).  It may have to be a snap decision when we arrive after we assess our energy level against the potential walking involved with the bus.

Counterfeit resolution (not really), 9/16/13

The day starts off with concerns about hot water.  Judy’s shower is lukewarm.  I’m not sure what’s going on.  There’s pressure, but Judy thinks it’s not hot enough.  I’m thinking the hot water reservoir is depleted due to the time of the day, since all the hot water comes from the same place (like a hotel or dorm).  I’ll probably end up paying some more on our hot water card, and hoping that solves it.

I work a little on school planning then head down to UHN management.  I pay 500y on what I think is the hot water card.  When I get back to the apartment, I try to load the card into the meter.  Nothing is loading?  The meter doesn’t move, so I’m going to have to try something else?  Oh well.

I dress for school and start over to the train station.  I’m headed to the “Club Fair”.  The bank ATM where I think I got the counterfeit money is located in the mall.  I go into the bank and begin trying to explain the counterfeit money issue.  There is lots of confusion and concern.  I end up in a small cubicle working with a bank teller through glass.  They’ve found an intern that speaks English well enough that I know I’m not going to get any of the counterfeit money replaced.  I give them my passport, answer many questions about which ATM, when, etc.  There are many forms to be completed and signed.  I can tell they reference the counterfeit bills.  I have to call someone from BHSFIC, who talks to the bank officials, and then explains to me what I already knew.  I wasn’t going to get any money back.  The bank couldn’t figure out how the money got into their ATM machine.  They don’t seem to believe that it could have come from them.

I suppose it’s possible the sales people at Yashow Market swapped out good bills for bad ones, and then came running after us, waving the bad bills.  That doesn’t explain how I got so many, and I didn’t give them eight of them.  I had noticed when I was checking my money before we left the apartment early Saturday, that I had a group of “newish” bills.  These are the ones that turned out to be bad.  They definitely came from the ATM, as far as I’m concerned, but I think I’m going to have to write this off to “education” and TIC (this is China).  I finally get back my passport and copies of the forms I’ve signed.  Time to head to school.

I get to school in plenty of time, but the room for the club fair is being used for a meeting of all the 10th graders.  Finally, at 4:20, the meeting finishes, and the room fills with students, moving desks and chairs, and hauling in posters and various materials.  In 10 minutes the room gets set-up with a flurry of activity.  My two “clubs” are next to each other, so I settle in between the two.  The BHSFIC “Orchestra” club has a screen and projector with an explanation of the club.  The “Band” club is really a guitar club.

The 10th graders start coming in at 4:30, and wandering around, checking out each club, deciding what they’re going to do.  It’s almost like a revisit to Yashow Market.  Lots of yelling, and students are being grabbed and coerced to join clubs (all in fun).  When the fair ends, Jason (the “orchestra” student leader), tells me we have 20 or more students.   I still don’t know what the instrumentation will be.  I think I may be forced into some creative arranging.  Jason says he’ll have it for me by Sunday.  Sunday is a make-up teaching day (determined by the government) for the holiday on Thursday & Friday, this week.

The guitar club has eight or nine students.  This should be an interesting group.  They’ve told me they all have different musical styles.  Can’t wait to see what this will turn into.

I leave around 5:45.  The trains are really crowded going home.  This is prime “rush hour”.  There is a lot of shoving and cramming when you try to work into one of the cars.  It’s quiet on the cars, but when the door opens, people flood out, and more flood back in.  You can’t be too far from the door when it’s your stop, or you won’t be able to fight through the crowd.  Everyone understands where you’re headed, and move if they can, but the crowd can only move so much.  I’m enjoying the jostling.  I’m one of the biggest, so I’m more of a “jostler” than a “jostlee”.

Octoberfest, 9/15/13

OCTOBERFEST!  We’re not actually that big on Octoberfest.  October is the busiest time of the year for a marching band, with contests and games filling the weekend.  In the past, to hear someone say “hey, let’s go to Octoberfest”, only made me mad they so much free time.  Lived in New Mexico for 25 years.  Never had a chance to attend the Albq. Balloon Fiesta.  It was always in October.  The weather was always great for golf in October.  Never had the time to play.    Now I’m attending an “Octoberfest” in September in Beijing, China.  Weird!

We meet Deb and Graham (Australian), Robin (USA, been at BISS for 1 year, and Israel 25 years before that), and Jeremy (Brit) at the subway station at noon.  It’s a short ride, 7 stops, with one quick transition to a 2nd train line.  We come out of the ground at the north end of the Olympic Park area.  The view is great.  There is a gorgeous park to the north, and some dramatic views of the Olympic area to the south.  We start looking for the Octoberfest area.  None of the promotional materials ever really said where it was, except that it was in the Olympic Park area (and that’s a huge area).

We follow some signs and find the site fairly easily.  It’s only 12:30, so not many people around.  It’s 10y each to enter ($1.80).  We walk in and wander in and out of 4 or 5 huge tents.  Each tent has hundreds of big tables and benches, with a big stage in the middle.  There is a band playing in one, so we make it our home.  There is a menu with food and drinks, so we order a bratwurst and pretzels.  The bratwurst is good, but it’s weird to be eating it with chopsticks.  The wait staff are all dressed in German “beer garden” attire.  It’s an unusual sight.

Brat with chopsticks

Brats with chopsticks? Seated next to Robin.

Olympic Observation Tower

One of the tents and the Olympic Observation Tower in the background


We move outside to sit on an outdoor balcony overlooking the walkway for the event.  The weather is gorgeous.  We can see everyone as they move through the area.  It’s a great place to watch people and talk amongst the group.  Jeremy is teaching at the BSB (British School of Beijing), another International School.  We listen to his stories about school and living.  He’s lived in several countries, including Kuala Lumpur.  Man, these international teachers have been everywhere.  There are some really unusual living conditions for these schools.

Judy and I leave around 3:30.  There’s debate about touring the Olympic Park area, but we decide to save it for another day.  Home and naptime are calling.  We stop off at the grocery store in the mall when we get back to Taiyangong Station.  As we’re leaving, we pass a hair salon we’ve noticed before.  It’s always crowded and some of the staff have really crazy hair.  Check out the picture below.  You may have to zoom in to really see the unusual styles.  When we get home, we sack out for a little while.  As we come out of our snooze, schoolwork and planning are on the agenda, and keep us occupied until bedtime.

Hair salon wierd hair