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Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Riddle - what Cost $21 To Get There - $1.80 For Lunch - Then 30 Cents to Get Home?

Answer to Riddle - Took a Taxi to the China Aviation Museum 26 Miles Away - It Was Closed - Had A Wonderful Lunch In Tiny Town for $1.80 - Then took the Bus and Subway Home
It looks like a B-29 - atomic bomb dropper
The museum and taxiway I walked.

I ate at the green sign

Lulu was busy all day at the US Embassy on special assignment. She said I should go to something that would bore her - and be at the Small German Bakery on Lucky Street at 5 PM by the Embassy. 

I picked out the China Aviation Museum - it is 26 miles north of Beijing - it is out in the boondocks. Monday I looked it up online and it said it was closed Mondays. So I figured it was open the rest of the week. It was 2.5 hours by bus or 35 minutes by Taxi - so I caught a cab right out in front of our apartment. I had a really nice quick ride up the expressway - and soon I was in wide open country. It could have been anywhere in the world. During the last mile or so - we were driving on open runways - but there was no other cars. 

The driver let me off - and I walked to the gate. As the taxi disappeared back down the runway - the guards told me the museum was closed until November. I am guessing they were preparing it for October - their big holiday period. It was 11 AM - the guards were helpful - they explained there was a bus stop about a mile away - down at the other end of the runway/highway. I figured I had time to kill - and there were adventures out there to experience.

The runway was wide - long - concrete - and about two feet thick. It reminded me of walking on the German Autobahn - except no cars. Along the runway/highway - there were old buildings that looked liked abandoned hotels - barracks - stores - who knows. They were just left to rot.  4 or 5 cars went by - but no one stopped to ask questions. News travels over here and they all probably knew my fate. Newspapers and TV are suppressed - but that does not mean they do not know what is going on. 

I got to the stop - a bus came in minutes. I hopped on using my bus card. In about a mile or two - we were at a little town - Baishan. It looked good - about 30 stores lined up. I figured I would sit down for lunch - check out my phone maps - and figure a way home. 

I picked out a restaurant that had a permanent sign - Beef Noodle Soup - in English. I also ordered a Coke - although the waiter had already brought a pot of tea. I figured a Coke would be safer. Of course I ordered the Beef Noodle Soup - price unseen. Both were delivered promptly. 

The Soup was gigantic. Full of noodles - a big bowl - and several pieces of meat floating. It was supposed to be beef - but could be cow - horse - dog - cat - who knows. I swear it was 2 quarts - but I finished. The Coke was a tall 1/3 liter bottle. People would walk by my table and gesture. Some would use the little English they had. I enjoyed my time there. Maybe 20 people came and went - while I ate. Many would do a double take.

I walked to the counter to pay. To my surprise my bill was 13 Yuan - about $1.80. You know me and a bargain. I thanked them - but no tipping here - no tax. If it is 13 Yuan - that is what you pay. I got out my iphone - open up WeChat - scan their little bar code sign - and bam - money goes from my iphone to their cash register. He asks me if I am American. I said yes - and said I live in Florida. I might as well have been the man from the moon. He said thank you. I said good-bye. 

I checkout my Apple Maps on the iphone. They worked fine - without wifi - without VPN. I was in a very strange place to me - but my iphone worked - I could have called my sons back home. Apple Maps said I could either take buses all the way - or take the bus halfway - then catch the subway. I decided to do the bus/subway thing. I took Bus 419 to the Train Station - halfway home. Then I hopped this beautiful new subway in this beautiful gigantic station - that seemed so out of place in the country side. For the first few stops I was alone in the train car with the guard. 

Before I knew it - I was near the USA embassy. I got out of the subway and I was right in front of the hotel where we stayed the first week. After a little snack of a chicken cutlet - at you know where - I walked to Lucky Street to wait for Lulu. As I was waiting in the upstairs dining room of the Little German Bakery - charging my iphone - I looked out the window to see Bus 419 stop. Yeah - that's the bus that started out - way back by the China Aviation Museum. I could have made the whole 52 mile round trip for 15 cents on that one bus. 

Lulu arrived at 5 PM - all chipper after a hard day's work at the Embassy. After I had a Berliner and milk at the German Bakery - we both agreed we had eaten too much. We went home without supper - we crashed in bed at 8 PM - and woke up this morning at 6 AM

Wednesday - today - Lulu will finish up her special project at the Embassy at 8 PM. They will order in supper at work. I will go to a closer museum - and make sure it is open before I go.



Nothing like walking an old runway
I was hungry but not that hungry


My cab passed Electric Power University

China Aviation Museum

The guards said it was closed

The main gate

Hero Plaques

Long abandoned gate



Gate at end of taxi way



Looks like an old shopping center



I had lunch here

My small lunch town

Main street - apartments on left - store right

My seat on the bus

Bus had a driver - guard - host

This bus had a separate walled lane

Modern Subway Station and bike parked




C-46 Goonie Bird



Flying boat
Plane with cruise missile


Add caption




Monday, September 16, 2019

Wild Weekend - BeiHai Park - Seminoles Loss - Beijing Zoo - Day 26

We saw 10 Panda Bear

This tiger was on the move
Lots of decorations for reading
They eat Moon Cakes for harvest time

It is Monday morning in Beijing - I am home alone. Lulu is at the American Embassy on special assignment. All this week she will work from 9 to 5. She got up and dressed early today - and took a taxi to the Embassy about 4 miles east of us. 

My jobs are simple - do the dishes - do the laundry - mop the floors - get some groceries - and write this story. After that is done - I can go out. 

It was a nice sunny weekend - temps were around 80. Although we take the subway and buses - we walk about 5 miles a day touring. We walk around the museums and parks. 

Bei Hai Park was Saturday afternoon. It has been public land since 1100 AD. In the 1400s - it was the Imperial City of the Ming Dynasty. Kublai Khan lived there. In 1925 - it was turned into a public park. It has a big lake - and reminds you of the old parks in America - like Lakewood or Ontelaunee Park. The public pays  $1.50 to enter - foreign tourists are let in free by showing their passports. One can rent paddle boats or electric boats. This park is smack dab in the middle of Beijing - although you would swear you were way out in the country. There are temples and palaces from long ago. 

Sunday morning we woke up at 7AM to listen to the FSU at UVA football game. We listened on Internet Radio - because the ACC Network is having a dispute with Comcast - thus we did not have coverage. The game was very exciting to the last second. My son and grandson were at the game and we talked on facetime for an hour about it. FSU lost on the last play - they were expected to lose to a ranked opponent on the road - but it was an exciting game. The game was Saturday night at 7 PM in Virginia - but it was already 7 AM Sunday here. 

After the game on Sunday - we took a bus to the Beijing Zoo. It is only about 2 miles from our apartment. Again we were surprised that admission was free to foreigners with passports - the price to locals was $3. It is a really big zoo - we may have covered 1/3 of it before we ran out of gas. 

It was nice sitting around the zoo. Families dress up nicely for outings like this. Dresses - skirts - etc - are worn. One young lady stopped us for a picture for her school project. We posed with her. People can't help but recognize our white faces and light hair. They do a double take - but show respect - it is a nice feeling. We were sitting in a dining area - maybe 40 tables - we were right in the middle - we had a snack and just listened to the banter among families. There are a lot of extended families - two grandparents - two parents - one child. It is no longer the law for only one child - but younger people realize it is costly to raise kids today. They are used to it. We can't judge a society on one day - but still it is fun. We are getting to feel like experts. 

The Internet - we rely on the Internet at home a lot. Over here it is even more our connection. We do not have the cable hooked up to the TV. We do not know if we even have the service. We do have DSL Internet - that fluctuates. It is not as good as Cable Modem at home. Since our service here is free - we do not complain. 

T-Mobile Phone Service - our ace in the hole is our cellphone service. Our t-mobile phones work here - we have unlimited text - data - internet. Calls are 25 cents but I do not make any calls. We can talk to people on Facetime for free. What is nice is that the Great China Internet Wall does not block out stuff with t-mobile. We get email - surf the net - read the papers from home - see our TV from home - listen to Sirius radio from home. We get unfiltered news from CNN - CBS - NBC - ABC. Our entire bill for two phones is $90 a month. The fact that is is not filtered is a bonus. I can even read my own web page!


In the old days - you read the newspaper this way.


Mickey Mouse knock off - honey flavor - gooey clear toy

Temples around the park

A little touch up

We climbed a 100 foothill on the island

The view from the island top


Temple on island hill - 500 years old

Beautiful gardens for October 1st



Moon Cakes

Lulu and the Panda House - special admission - free to us

Bored or lazy Pandas




Gifts were reasonable - as were snacks

No burning - in zoo.

Joel - I felt just like at home

Lemurs?



Fun date

Nice kids






Families

Pictures


Lady with white hair - rare here









Lots of boat to rent at park
Always checking out books