Today I met an ex-colleague, a Chinese English teacher from RDFZ. We went for lunch together, during which she gave me a couple of her students’ work to look at (I used to teach her class). It was a pleasant meal, and conversation flowed, but I was a little tired afterwards, as I had not slept well last night. We parted company about 13:45, and this left me with a dilemma. Do I go back to my room, which may take half an hour or more, just to go out again about 15:00 to my Chinese class, or should I stay out and do some shopping and then go to class? I opted for the latter. I took the subway to the station nearby the Chinese school I go to, where I know there is a mall, and went inside. My intention was not actually to shop at all; I was instead going to find somewhere to sit and review my notes from last week’s class.
I found a random coffee shop, bought a drink (I don’t drink tea or coffee so I rarely frequent such establishments), and settled down. I bought some sort of vanilla drink. It was very nice, and had milk, vanilla, ice and other things I don’t know in it (perhaps a little coffee; I didn’t feel tired after it, haha). The barista double checked I wanted a cold drink, I confirmed, and then found a seat. The drink itself was not a colour I was expecting, but I enjoyed it all the same.
Christmas in Beijing is, perhaps unsurprisingly, somewhat superficial. Shopping malls often have lights and Christmas trees up, but the day itself is not a holiday and many places leave their decorations up well into the new year (I saw some still up in March, and occasionally you can even see decorations up all year…). Last year, on 1 December, 7-11 began to play Christmas songs, but that was the earliest I have really seen things… until today.
On the so-called ‘Singles’ Day’ here (so-called because 11.11 looks like individual chopsticks I think), a massive online shopping day, it was a little surprising to see Christmas things already appearing. But, as autumn disappears and winter arrives, perhaps it’s not so surprising.
The weather is pretty cold, but these past couple of days the air has been excellent. I don’t know how long that will last, as the heating gets switched on next week, but for now, it’s all good.