December 30, 2009

1. Am signing a lease to a new place in the Hujialou neighborhood of Beijing tonight. The place isn't as nice as the one I'm in now, but it's a little bigger for less than I am currently paying. So I'm pretty happy about it.

2. Cooking some homemade sausages that Sha's mom made. They smell really good steaming in the kitchen.

3. Have been getting addicted the the many different kinds of teas again. There're few better ways to spend an afternoon than trying new teas and reading.

4. Have yet to make New Year's Eve plans.


December 18, 2009

My landlord can't figure out why I'm not renewing my lease. He's jacking the rent up from 3500元 to 4500元. A 27% rent increase just seems, well, unseemly. Beijing obviously has no rent control laws. I'll be looking for a place a couple of stops north of here in the next few weeks.

December 18, 2009

Recently visited Du Fu's (712-770) famed "thatch hut" in Chengdu which in true Chinese tradition is a rebuild of a rebuild not located where archaeologists now know it to have originally been. But it does show the continuing importance of his legacy. The most out of place thing there was an exhibition hall displaying photos of every Chinese Communist Party official and local functionary to visit the place. That Mao would visit makes sense, as he was a poet. I'm unclear what use it does to Du Fu's legacy that a Deputy Commissioner of the Local Tourism Department visited (I mean, wouldn't it just be in his job description anyway?). It works the other way in which the Party is still using China's rich cultural past to legitimize and enhance their own standing. There is no hall for all the domestic and international writers who have trekked here. That would be much more interesting and indicative of Du Fu's on-going influence.

December 11, 2009

It looks like I have another way around China's Great Firewall. I will be posting more in the coming days.