by Afia Yeboah, Greenheart Travel Homestay Teacher in China
Yay! Ni Hao Friends and Family.
It’s Day 4 in Beijing and I feel really excited to be here. I feel so happy and blessed. Today, I will be meeting a friend of mine named Jade Johnson. Jade and I attended the University of Maryland College Park together from 2011-2015. We were in the same “more than just a scholarship” program, the University of Maryland Incentive Awards Program, which produces the finest Maryland student ambassadors. (Shout out to IAP!)
As most of you already know, I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English Language and Literature, pre-law emphasis. Jade graduated from the University with a Bachelor of Arts in History. She moved to the Shijingshan District of Beijing for a year to teach English in a kindergarten and she will be here until October 2016.
Doppelgänger fun: It’s amusing to hang out with Jade Johnson from college sometimes because I also have a best friend from high school with the exact same name: Jade Johnson. I have to make sure they meet one day. I’ll definitely get a kick out of it.
So college Jade Johnson and I meet in Xidan, a very modern, chic, shopping district in Beijing, that reminded me a lot of like a less congested, more spaced out, Times Square, New York – mainly because of the massively lit billboards.
We ventured into Joy City Galleria for some grub. I thought it was so cool that this mall had an H&M, Samsung store, Microsoft store, XBOX One gaming store, Under Armour (Shout out to Baltimore), an iPhone store, Starbucks, Burger King and a Dairy Queen. Sounds like home to me!
Jade suggested we go to a pizza place inside the mall named Babela’s Kitchen. My friends and family know that I can never and have never turned down pizza in my entire life. So accordingly, Jade and I ordered French fries, chicken nuggets, and a medium pizza.
And the saddest pizza in the world award goes to: I’m sad to report this, but this was the scariest pizza I’ve ever encountered in life. Jade ordered a Hawaiian Pizza. You know, the typical ham and pineapple pizza. But I’ve discovered that in China they get really creative with their pizza and make the pizza sweet, for example they sell blueberry pizza. They’re big on fruit on pizza and other very interesting topping combinations.
Guys, this pizza made me very, very sad. As a pizza lover, I was heart-broken. Jade ate it and told me this pizza was sweet and sour, with sweet drizzle and sour cheese. Can you imagine? Honestly, I could not even take a full bite, let alone a whole slice. Hahahahaha it was tragic.
Other menu items on the drink list were “Purple Rice with Coconut Milk” and “Corn Juice.” If only I was more adventurous. Jade and I went to get Froyo to make up for our sad pizza in Beijing experience. [However, stay tuned because later we found the most DELICIOUS pizza spot in Wudaokou, Beijing. All hope is not lost!]
We leave Xidan and Jade gives me subway directions for me to return to my host home in the Chao Yang District. The Beijing subway is pretty big system, but it becomes easy to navigate after a few times riding the lines. One distinct difference between the stations here, compared to back home, is the security check they implement.
Here in Beijing, they require any bags and purses passengers’ carry, to first go through a conveyer belt to be scanned. Very similar to what the system they have in the airport, except you don’t have to remove your shoes and jackets, etc.
I make it home in about 30-40 minutes by Metro. Jade’s instructions were as followed:
Instructions from Xidan:
Line 1. We are at Xidan. Go 7 stops to Guomao (blue). Get off and walk to Line 10. Take the direction at Line 10 to Jintaixizhao. Go 6 stops to Sanyuanquao. Exit D, Phoenix City.
The Sanyuanquao metro is about a 15-minute walk from my host home, or a 3-minute cab ride. I made it home safely, and I’m looking forward to my fifth day here.
What a great day in Beijing.
Until next time,