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Catching Beijing on a Whim

June 30, 2011

I had my doubts about being organized enough to travel. But last night, sitting in our apartment , a group of us were talking about what we were going to do this weekend, and our list was pretty uninspired.

1. Go to a club we have already been to before

2. Go to a new club that runs the risk of not being fun

2.Spend as little money as possible

3. Don’t have the Baijiu this time

Truthfully, this list speaks more to our lazy mood. There are in fact an infinite amount of things to do in Shanghai on the weekends. Regardless, it got us thinking, why not Beijing?  A few clicks on a computer and our flight was booked! So tomorrow, I will be flying to Beijing and spending a sleepless weekend exploring the Great Wall, Tianamen Square and sending all my American love to Mao.  Needless to say, I am incredibly excited, not to mention impressed with my spontaneity.

After our weekend plan was officially decided upon, we headed out to the spanish bar, Murel. Not only did I meet a fellow travel blogger, but I saw someone from across the bar that looked strangely familiar.

Let me reiterate that Davidson College is a school of about 2400 kids.  Its small enough that it is rare to meet a new face, but big enough that its hard to know everybody. At Davidson, rumors travel fast, people know everyone’s history, and it is an unspoken obligation to find out if another Davidson is spending their summer in close proximity to yourself. Especially a place like Shanghai.  Not only is it pretty shocking that there are four Davidson students in Shanghai, it is even more shocking that we missed someone. The person at the bar was indeed a Davidson student. Technically he is an alum because he graduated last semester. We never traveled in the same group of people at school, but it was so nice to run into someone that could speak the language of cookout, vamanos van, and the court.

Given the coincidental run ins with people I know and its international population, I am becoming increasingly convinced that Shanghai is really just the entire world confined to a ten mile radius.

In food exploration news, I think I have found my favorite food in Shanghai yet! Mala Tang. It is actually God’s gift to the laowai. Basically they give you a basket, and in front of you is a fridge full of produce and fresh meat (I ignored the strange organs that chinese people eat). you load up the basket with whatever you want give it to a lady behind a big pot of boiling broth, she cooks it, throws in love, spices with a ton of kick and serves it up in a bowl. Seven kuai has gotten me mala tang lunches every day this past week.

And I am not trying to brag or anything but, the broth lady loves me, and chatters onto me in chinese about God knows what while she makes my soup. She is probably telling me about how they killed the chicken that is going into my soup outside in the alley that very morning, or maybe how she knows some eligible bachelor that she wants to set me up with. But I like to think she is just giving me grandmotherly advice and complimenting me on my choice of vegetables.

Mala Tang

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Lisa permalink
    July 1, 2011 2:41 am

    Have fun in Beijing!!! Somehow let me know that you have made it there and back safely. You know how mom’s get. xoxo
    Don’t for get that Dr Gibbs wants that Mao watch!

  2. debbie karmin permalink
    July 15, 2011 1:13 am

    hi Gen! you’re mom gave me your blog and i wasnt able to get on it before. i needed a teenager to set me up, so zack got me on today! this was so much fun reading about your travels and adventures…what an amazing experience you are having! cant wait to see you back in chicago and hear more!

    enjoy every day!

    lots of love,

    debbie (ali says hi too!!!)

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