As the title suggests, today is my last day in Beijing. After treating some athletes this morning, I’m off to the airport to begin the long journey home. I haven’t posted much the last few days, so what follows are some random snapshots of what I’ve been doing.
There was no treating today, so it was a day “on your own.” I could have gone on a tour if I asked, but I decided that I wanted to experience a combination of touristy and non-touristy things, so I made it up as I went along. First on the agenda, take the subway to church.
Wangfujing Catholic Church
In a city of over 20 million people, there are exactly four Catholic churches. Four. I knew Christianity was in the minority, but that was shocking to me! There were three Masses scheduled for today at the one I chose–Wanfujing–all in Chinese. My kids asked if that would be hard. In some ways yes (I didn’t understand the Homily at all), but in other ways no (I know the order of the Mass pretty well by now!). I would estimate that out of approximately 500 people in attendance, I was one of fewer than five non-Chinese people. Major differences I noted:
- The previous Mass did not end on time and people just filed in and began sitting with previous attendees until it ended.
- TV’s were hung to provide the day’s readings; there were no books, etc. in the pews.
- When it was time to change position (e.g., stand, sit, kneel), someone clapped together what I would guess to be two boards.
- When offering peace to others, we were to put our hands in front as in a prayer and bow to others.
- Communion: when it was time for this, people just got up when they wanted (no dismissing by rows) and walked back to their seats however they wanted. Oh, the host (bread) was much thinner than any I had ever had before.
- The singing of the Lord’s Prayer, while in Chinese, was one of the most beautiful versions I have heard.
By the way, if you want to take the subway to this church from the Haidan District:
- Line 13 (at Shangdi) to Zhichunlu
- Line 10 to Huixinxijienankou
- Line 5 to Dengshikou
- Walk west toward Cypress Hutong for about half a mile
Lastly, if you want to do some interesting reading, Google this: Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association. I won’t address the obvious politics involved here.
I did some shopping for my family in a hutong on Nanluoguxiang. I went here when I was in Beijing five years ago. It is a really cool place to shop. Compare that to the Silk Market. When I got off the plane, a gentleman from Boston told me that I just had to go to the Silk Market, so I did. I was there for maybe 15 minutes and knew it wasn’t for me. I went to the Pearl Market before, this was perhaps cleaner, but I didn’t really enjoy it as much (too pushy, too expensive, too touristy). So I would suggest skipping the Silk Market altogether.
After shopping, I was close to Tiananmen Square, so I thought I would visit again. MUCH busier on a Sunday afternoon!
I am convinced that the rules of the road are just general suggestions and that driving is a game not unlike “chicken.” People drive and ride the wrong way, they go on red, cars have the right of way, texting is OK while driving. Just crazy. BUT . . . I think I saw one accident the entire time I was here. Even though they appear to be playing some type of game, they also have some understanding of what others will/won’t do. Crazy . . .
Beijing Sport University
On Friday, I was taken to Beijing Sport University and have been “stationed” here since. This is where I stayed during my last trip so it was almost nostalgic coming back. BSU is just a beautiful campus with buildings dedicated to different sports and activities related to sports. BSU is located in what I would term a suburb, the Haidian District; it is more than an hour away from the NSTC (which is basically downtown). While it is more suburb-like, it is one of the most populated areas of Beijing. BSU is clean and the facilities are just wonderful, below are some pictures.
I will have a post-China wrap up as well, but I need to close for now so I can go treat and then board the plane for home!