Sometimes I am sparse with the updates for no good reason, but I've got an excuse this time. I've been in China, where they make it really hard for you to work on your silly little blog. Thankfully I am able to access my company's server in Paris so I can dance around their controls, but it makes for an infinitesimal lagtime (sometimes I can count up to 10 seconds before the letter I've struck appears on the screen--which makes for a fun "Memory" or "Count-'em-down" sort of typing game!) and my arse hurts at the mere thought of uploading a photo.
So I will wait for the photo updates until I'm home this weekend, at which point I will be no doubt super J-lagged and barely able to grunt at the cat much less string a sentence for this here thing. So you've been warned. But I give you a briefing on the trip as it was this time:
1. I am proud to say I am still gluten-free. There were moments (mostly at the disgusting Beijing fabric fair) when I thought that if a Papa John's pizza fell (from the grimey girders) into my lap, I would have polished it off with no problem. But I am proud to say I was steadfast and spent 12 dumpling-free days in China. If I don't fall ill with something-or-other after this germy time, I will know that my immune system has been duly fortified. As someone without a severe gluten allergy, it's pretty easy to be off the gluten in China. No dumplings, no excessive amounts of soy sauce (I am no saint), no deep-fried/"breaded"
things, and no beer. So really, it's been all-rice, all-the-time. And a fried pigeon here and there. But no Jew's ear. Nuh-uh. Only for pictures, I swear.
2. It's been a clean-up on aisle Marni over here. I wasn't that into the H&M-Marni collection when it came out, mostly because I was put off by the frenzy of it all. Maybe it's because I knew I could never get a piece--even with a boyfriend who works at H&M. That shizz was gone in seconds! But I thought maybe I'd take a gander in Shanghai... and, sure enough, there it all was! Hanging unpreturbed! And... ON SALE. I got a pair of shoes (made in Portugal, no less) and a silk dress and a silk blouse. But the best part was I had the time to browse, try things on, and think it over before I made my purchases, on sale, with a discount. OK, now I'm just rubbing it in. And when I got to Beijing, there was even MORE there. Like accessories! So I have a few extra plastic necklaces earmarked for a few lovely ladies that I know. But if you are dying for one (not the fancy leaf one, though...), send me an email.
3. I've been to Beijing twice now, so it's doubly confirmed I find it dirtier, uglier (Except for the Olympic Stadium, it really is what any new stadium should be judged against--damn all those retro-style stadiums built in the past 10 years in the US. They turn my stomach. But this is not the time for a stadium rant, though I am good for it.), slower (Because. The. Traffic. Is. Painfully. Awfully. Horribly. *cough* Slow. And. You. Can. *fumes* Get. Nowhere. Fast.), and harder to manage than Shanghai. Sure, Shanghai is all tall buildings and loud expats from Oz and light shows and over-priced scene-y dinners, but it is much more modern and (dare I say?) civilized than Beijing. I mean, I get stared at hard in Beijing. And try taking a taxi as a solo Western woman... I thought the one taxi driver was going to strain his neck all the times he kept turning to stare at me.
4. I think I might like Yunnan food the most of all of the regional Chinese food I've had.
5. Today we went to the Summer Palace (where I was inappropriately dressed for the windy cold weather and spent most of the time shivering and fantasizing about all of the things in my suitcase layered to encase my body) and then (after a stop back at the hotel, which thanks to the Beijing traffic was no quick jaunt) to the Great Wall. Yes, I went to the freaking GREAT WALL OF CHINA today! Woop! And it was really something. I will write more about it later when I am over my impending jetlag and can do it properly. I don't know when I'll be back in Beijing (not soon, if I can help it), so I jumped on the opportunity to go. I think it's the only one of the Seven Wonders I've seen. And, yeah, it's a wonder alright.
6. Damn you, pink puppy. You had no excuse holding out on me this time. Your mom and dad no doubt wonder what the deal is with the girl in the red-and-black coat craning into their newsstand every day. Please come out and play next time!
7. What would I do without my Kindle? (T R-P, I am forever grateful for your encouragement.) It really is the best dinner/lunch/breakfast partner a traveling lady could ask for. I finished the Paris Wife, which despite my initially snobbery, was a fun read. I've put off The Sisters Brothers so I can read some of Nancy Mitford's historical stuff. Madame de Pompadour, I'm smitten! I can't wait to be back on your bourgeois stomping grounds tomorrow!