the turtle started to come out of his shell...
gotta say I was a little "shell" shocked (pun intended) when I first arrived. I haven't been out of the country in years and this has been a real adjustment. of course, it's not been that crazy...but in my world....it's pretty out there. we've got the weekend off and I finally decided to venture outside the comfort of our fancy hotel.
I should start by saying that we are staying in the Chaoyang District, just outside of the 3rd Ring Road (ring roads circle the city....there are 5 or 6 of them). the area is known as a spot where many expats live. it's also heavily populated with foreign embassies. so, not to worry Mary Ellen, it seems like a pretty safe neighborhood.
it was a beautiful day today. about 80 degrees and relatively clear. there's certainly smog....but you could see the blue sky and clouds today! walked out the door of the hotel and turned right...towards Lucky Street. looks like it would be a pretty happening street on a saturday night....guessing that they're all home sleeping in before the night begins! there was a Spice Girls Restaurant, a Southern German Bakery and a bar called Nashville.
a little further down....a mall! your every day run of the mill, sort of Grove like, shopping mall. of course I walked in...always on the lookout for things that I might recognize. I wandered around the perimeter....all on a little pond, people sitting out on patios enjoying the day...it didn't seem very big and I was feeling a little disappointed. ...and then I walked into a small door.....and there was a whole other mall inside and underground from the mall that I had just walked around. loads of shops in there. mostly clothes, and jewelry.
i've been told that the lower levels of many malls have a grocery store (similar to the one I visited the other day)....that seems to hold true....walking by the lower level market I saw this amazing looking fruit growing on a vine . i don't think they're lemons...anyone know what they are? a great wall of china refrigerator magnet to the first person that can tell me what it is!!!
saw a couple of other interesting things in the underground mall....a store that scans your entire body...and then turns it into a figurine of you. Sort of like having your own Lladro figurine...with your face on it. kind of creepy. also noticed that there was a rather inordinate amount of baby stores there. kids clothes, strollers, accessories....I'm guessing that since the people here can only have one child, they have a little more money to spend?
left the mall and decided to continue to stroll around the block....have I mentioned how big the city is?....I'd guess that the blocks compare to the distance between avenues in NYC...
lot's of random things seen along the way:
I'm glad I ventured out today. The city suddenly seems a little more manageable...and a little less overwhelming. I'm very much looking forward to exploring some more.
ps. just wanted to say thanks to all for your notes and messages. I'm half a world away...yet still feel very connected to all of you.