Such a lazy day.... This morning's class was cancelled because the students wanted to attend a lecture by the "leader" [so the students described him] of Cisco systems. So I took the chance to start the day at a more leisurely pace than normal. It felt necessary.
After class, though, a trip to the bank became necessary. I was supposed to do that yesterday, but I didn't feel like pedalling my bike all that way through that strong, cold, dry wind. Pathetic, I know- I'm from Wellington. Yesterday's wind only counts as a mild breeze where I grew up. But there you go, I was just feeling run down and looking for an excuse to avoid the bank. I hate banks.
I especially hate that Bank of Communications deposit machines are set so super-sensitive that they reject notes just because they're getting a bit old. The old notes pass every other test of their genuineness, but the machine doesn't want them. It means that I never manage to deposit my entire salary like I'm supposed to.
Yes, I know, the obvious answer is to ask the boss to deposit my salary directly into my account. I've been meaning to arrange that for months now.
Anyway, the second spectacularly clear, blue day in a row is drawing to a close. A pity such brilliant weather has to come with strong, dry, cold winds, but the air is clean and clear, and that's the main thing.
And looking out the window, I get that same little tinge of jealousy as I do every morning. The setting sun is glinting off the southern faces of the highrises over by Wusheng Lu. They look so warm. Lucky bastards. The only sun we'll be getting in this apartment until the Spring Equinox is what gets reflected off those buildings. The aircon is doing a reasonably good job of keeping the place warm, though. Well, so far, anyway- we've only needed it the last couple of days as the temperature has gotten properly cool instead of just a wee bit nippy.
There's a lot of construction going on in the BeiGongDa campus, mostly along the southern edge. In the southwest corner a hotel is being built- it'll have four stars when it's finished, according to my boss. It's hard to tell right now with only one star- the basic structure- nearing completion. There's some similarly sized, similar looking building going up to the east of that, on the other side of the South Gate, just west of the Olympic badminton stadium. I have no idea what that will be.
And then this afternoon on the way to the bank, I heard this odd whirring noise coming from that southern strip of the campus. I thought it must be the cranes, of course, but China's national bird, the construction crane (Beijingus skylinea) has a fairly distinctive call, and this whirring wasn't quite right. I looked up and there was a helicopter flying around between these tall (not quite highrise, but not exactly short, either) construction sites and cranes. One of these, perhaps- although if you scroll down to the black and white picture labelled Chinese Z-9, you might get a slightly more accurate photo. [sometimes my childhood fascination with all things that fly- especially those that shoot stuff- comes in handy] It's not often you see helicopters around Beijing. In my experience they're more common in the outer suburbs- Tongzhou would occasionally have flocks of military helicopters flying around, and in that summer I spent working in Changping, I often saw a helicopter flying around. "Flying around" is the key- they always seem to fly in large circles. Anyway, there was this helicopter flying amongst the buildings and cranes. Actually, it was an amazingly quiet helicopter. I don't think I've ever
seen heard a helicopter so quiet before. It was so quiet it took me several minutes to connect this faint, high-pitched whirring sound with the helicopter, even though there were no other helicopter sounds hanging around to confuse the issue.
Well, if I had to guess, I would say the helicopter was carrying a photographer who was taking photographs or perhaps video (funnily enough) for some kind of promotional work. Promotional work for either BeiGongDa or the Olympics- they were flying very close to the Olympic badminton stadium, after all.
In other words, a perfectly normal day in which nothing happened worth writing about.
I did the one class I was left with after this morning's cancellation, I went to the bank and deposited most of my salary (and yes, I could have deposited it all if I'd gone to the teller and done things the old fashioned way instead of using the machine, but I hate banks, and using the machine means I'm in and out with minimum pain in the shortest possible time), I went to the market and....
Oh, yeah, I saw Doctor Huang again. This time she satisfied herself with a simple "Ni hao, you came back" [Chinese small talk- her "you came back" statement was no more significant than the "how's it going?" you ask a neighbour you know only by sight] and I was not encouraged to buy medicine or haws lest the inside of my head be swallowed by the world's largest aneurysm. I hadn't seen her for several days, so I was beginning to wonder if the chengguan had got her and confiscated all her medicine.Her medicine, by the way, cures absolutely everything. Or so her leaflets claim.