“What?”Beijing, Summer 2012

Last week was a challenge. I am still getting used to learning and speaking almost exclusively in Chinese. Fortunately for me, I have the opportunity to practice all the grammatical structures and new words from each day’s lesson while ordering food, riding transit, and chatting with my roommate. The agonizingly slow recitations that come out of my mouth like verbal mazes, often which have no discernible  meaning, is an unfortunate circumstance that the people I talk to are kind enough to endure. Despite this, sometimes I am now able to tell the waiter (服务员) “I’ll have this” and tell the taxi driver “I’m going to (insert place).” The exchange that transpires following these requests normally requires an abundance of “What?” The explanation aspect of the conversation is not, shall we say, my strong suit. Given that we are learning 30+ new characters a night, I’m confident my skills will continue to improve!

Attempted to ask this security guard where a specific shop was in the 798 Art District.


Over the weekend I visited the 798 Art District in Beijing. It’s fences surround a number of once abandoned buildings and factories that have been adopted by local artists and venders. Many of the restored buildings still contain some vestiges of their past as production centers for military and civilian equipment alike. Aesthetically, it has an appearance relatable to some of the areas in Soho, New York, and its plethora of shops and galleries are similar to those one might find in Melrose, California. The art tended to be avant-garde and there was no shortage of artist’s works that piqued my interest.

Outdoor concrete sculpture of partial head.

Graffiti stencil showing Chinese word for "day."

Over the weekend I’ll be traveling to the Wutaishan national forest…pictures and stories to follow.

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1 Comment

  1. Uncle Lane, that is so cool that you are learning so much Chinese! I took a class on Chinese earlier this year, but all I remember is how to say “Hello” and “My brother is 8!” Enjoy the rest of your trip! :)

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