This past week has just breezed by. I can't believe school is over. All we have next week are our final exams and a little party all of which I'm skipping in favor of heading to Shanghai. I thought this week would be relaxing since we'd covered most of the touristy things but it's been nonstop. I've spent almost every moment of the day with these guys whether it's lunch, shopping, dinner or drinks. I think we can all feel our time slipping away.
On Monday we met up in Houhai for a little shopping although Cynthia and I got stuck in rush hour traffic and arrived half an hour late. I wasn't feeling that well but most of the guys were hungry so we headed to a restaurant that Stephan had seen a few doors down. Stephan is nuts! Out of the 60 or so menu items only about 8 were made with 'normal' animals or animal parts. Stephan wanted to order the deep fried worm and bee pupae combo platter but we bargained him down to just the worms. He also ordered frog which unfortunately can covered in so many chilies that even I found it inedible. Joanna ordered some sort of dried cooked beef which wasn't half bad but everyone was very glad for the basic spring rolls I had ordered. I tried the worm but I couldn't get it down. It had a weird seasoning on the outside I didn't like but other than that it was a little like a crispy french fry but empty on the inside.
It had been threatening to rain for days, so long in fact I couldn't remember the last time I'd worn my sunglasses. It's rained a little here and there but not enough to drain these ominous dark clouds constantly hovering over Beijing. They finally let loose on Tuesday and we woke up on Wednesday to the first few patches of blue sky we'd seen for weeks. We took a little trip to Wangfujing shopping area but again got stuck in terrible rush hour traffic. The roads here are very modern and the freeways are set up in concentric around the city. The on/off ramps just constantly follow alongside the road as the freeways aren't elevated. I got in the front seat and played Solitaire on my Ipod while Joanna and Richard took pictures of each other (their favorite pastime) in the back seat. I saw the taxi driver's registration papers and picture in front of me but when I looked over at him, he didn't like remotely like the picture. We asked him who the person was in the picture and he got a bit nervous but we told him it wasn't a problem and he seemed to relax a little.
Wednesday night we headed to Vics for ladies night. Whoo hoo. They definitely have the most danceable music of all the places we've been and while there are always too many people there, it's air conditioned and has a great upstairs chill lounge. Stephan left at 1:30am so he could make it to school the next day. Stephan attendance has not been exemplary. Going out always seems to take precedence. But last Saturday, Cynthia and I had organized a little bet with him that he couldn't make it to class for the entire week. We didn't even say he had to be on time. He just had to make it before the bell rang for the first break. He was so sure he would win. We were thinking he just needed a little extra motivation to go to class but Cynthia and I were sorely disappointed to hear the bell ring on Thursday morning and know he'd lost. Oh well free drinks for us!
On the last of real class, one of our classmates, Susan, brought her birthday cake to share with the class. It was a nice ending to a fun 3 weeks. Cynthia and I debated over whether or no to skip the second half of class. The weather outside was too nice but we stuck it out in the end. We went to find an electronics store in the afternoon and had to walk through Beijing University. What a beautiful expansive campus. Nothing like our little school. Maybe I'll apply there next summer! I've got yet another cold but I've got a great drug cocktail going so that it's not too bothersome. We had dinner at a Korean Restaurant where they put hot coals in the middle of your table and you order meat and veggies to cook over them. It was delicious and fun. There were so many waiters there and they came over every five minutes or so to change the grill to keep it from getting too hot. We headed to Latinos which wasn't what we were expecting. I thought it was going to be a cool dark little salsa spot but it was more of an old school dance lounge. There were lots of people there and the dancers were really pretty good. There was a great live band from Venezuela shaking their double jointed hips and singing their hearts out. We ordered a bottle of rum and some coke to share and Stephan wanted to play a drinking game with cards but they didn't have any. Dice? No dice. He looked bummed so I taught them to play 'I Never'. It ended up being a very fun a night with everyone dancing up a storm. Ahhh. I'll miss these guys.