I am still getting over this throat/chest illness i dont think the cold/dry/dusty conditions here help,but spring is starting to show itself.We had the last night of fireworks (officially that is) the other day for the lantern festival which marks the end of the New Year festivities but you can still see and hear them.
The Gov,t seeded the clouds the week before last to bring an end to the drought (I thought the loud explosions were more fireworks haha) the result of that was we had snow for about 5 days.
Thank you to those who have wrote back to me it's nice to hear from you and hear your news I really look forward to recieving them.
One of the results of the constant dry/dusty conditions is we use an object that is shaped like an ancient little oil lamp and you fill it with warm salty water then inset it in one nostril and through gravity and squeezing it you flush out each nostril it's a strange feeling but certainly makes you feel better,I can understand now why you see and hear so many people coughing and spitting everywhere you go, as the dust and dryness really gets to you.
Last Monday we went back to the Beijing Institute of Performing Arts to see a chinese production of Verdi's opera La Traviata it was good,Jun came home from work early so we could travel to the centre and get something to eat before the show,that was a mistake we hit it right in the middle of the rush hour on the metro It's a bit surreal standing on a platform and watching a train go through with peoples faces literally flat against the windows when the doors opened we pushed in and i thought we will never get on but we did along with another 5 behind us then the 6th a middle aged woman had her arms and legs in but her head and torso were hanging outside and one of the security personal grabbed her and pulled her off and she started shouting at her for doing it I thought she probally just saved you from a serious injury.It was on the news 2 weeks ago about a man getting off the metro and the doors closed and caught his coat he had to get his coat off himself as the train was starting to move.
We went to the hospital last week for my medical so that i can apply for my driving test the first time they sent us away as i didn't have the form and a photo (they dont tell you you need it beforehand) when we went back she said to me as she looked at the form "how tall are you" so i told her then she said read this chart with a hand over your left eye then your right she pointed to a letter E so i said E she said no then pointed to a what i thought was a M again told no then she pointed to what i thought was a W again a no I shouted Jun over and she explained they are all shaped like a E but you have to say which way the 3 lines are pointing up down left or right haha anyway i was ok after that and after doing that and reading 2 numbers in a colour chart she said ok you are fit to apply.So yesterday we got the driving school bus out to the driving centre which took 1 hour 45 minutes the place was huge there must have been another 40/50 buses bringing people from other areas and at a guess about 400/500 training cars we went to register but they said because my name on my residency paper wasn't in Chinese i would have to go back to the police station to have them put it on so we had to get the bus back home and do it all again next week there are many oppurtunities to practice patience and acceptance sadly i dont always suceed.
We have found 5 zen temples in and around Beijing that you can attend and stay for retreats so we are going to have a look at them over the next few weeks and hopefully have one we can start going to on a regular basis I have also found a tai chi group here at BDA i found them last Saturday morning when i went out early with the dog so we are going to speak with them.There is also a local woman who has advertised for a teacher for her son in the BDA news sheet so we are going to contact her as well as maybe put our own advert in for anyone interested in joining us for a weekly meditation group.
At the moment i am still settling in so i dont do to much during the week when Jun is at work I have my twice daily meditation and taichi/chigung and i do the cleaning,washing/ironing shopping (some things never change haha) I spend some time reading or on the internet i have joined a couple of photography groups as i now have more time to try and develop and enjoy it more,and i also go either for a walk with the dog or go for a bike ride exploring the area.I will start going further on the metro or in the car when i have passed my theory test over the next few weeks.
We drove right into the centre of the city on saturday as Jun had to go into the head office of the customs to sign some papers so we went on to an area which has a huge plant,fish and garden furniture centre it was amazing what you could get, we bought quite a few house plants,a bonsai tree and a fish tank the place was so colourful you could buy huge wood,stone carvings of Buddha, Kwan yin,Taoist sages some upto 8 feet high,waterfalls, ponds, some of the fish tanks were works of art in how they created different scenes in them.