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A Canadian In Beijing: International Condiments & Conversation
I was a bit shy about it all, to be honest. I'm used to mid-grade to low-grade accommodations unless music venues are generous and set up the musicians (us) with plush beds to lie in for the night. Still, I'm not complaining. Sleeping off my jet lag in style was a bonus and it enabled a delayed first impression of this city.
The western-style breakfast consisted of everything you can imagine for breakfast, plus...
I sat next to a woman from Australia while a family behind me chatted in a Slavic language that I couldn't recognize. I asked one of the waitresses for the word for watermelon in Chinese and proceeded to have the typical conversation about where I learned Mandarin and why I have come here. She giggled behind her hand when I spoke and then tittered with her fellow waitresses behind the bar.
Just as I was leaving the hotel restaurant, I noticed the condiments were as international as the conversations. Here is an image of the two options: jam from Austria and butter from New Zealand.
It's time to really be in China now. No more of this veiled arrival business! Off to the university I go...