Friday, August 12

day two

We got a sudden downpour in the middle of the night last night. It had stopped by the time I went out at about 7, but started again later in the morning. I went to the train station to try to get a ticket back home, but they wouldn't let me reserve more than five days in advance. They don't have any sleepers available, so unless I get someone to pull some strings for me, I'll be sitting up all the way back home. As one of my friends says, it will help me understand more Chinese culture, because that's the way most of the Chinese do it. So, I haven't reserved yet. I'll probably go again tomorrow. From the train station, I took the bus back to my hostel, but decided to ride it a little longer to see what else was in the neighborhood. I got off after seeing a McDonald's, with the intention of going in for coffee (they have free refills and air conditioning there), but when I got off the bus, I found that I was right next to an entrance to the Temple of Heaven park. So, I went in and spent a few hours wandering through. The buildings there are really interesting. If I were still a math teacher, I would have an application for next year. One of the structures (it's an altar of some kind, I think) has 9 levels because 9 is the largest single digit odd number, thought to have significance of some sort. The top level has circles of marble slabs with the multiples of nine, so the first has 9 and the last has 81.

After the Temple of Heaven, I walked and walked. I found one of the big markets here and bought a few things, even though I'm trying to keep myself on a very tight budget. Things here are cheap, and I'm getting a little better at bargaining, although I'm sure I'm not getting things for the prices Chinese people would.

I came back to the hostel and took a nap, because I was exhausted from walking all day. It looks like I missed a good chance to see Tianamen at dusk, though, because it just started pouring again. Well, maybe journaling in the hostel is a better bet for tonight.

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