I've been going to chinese language class for a week now, and enjoying the thrill of hearing words I have just learned appear on afternoon chinese soaps. Riding bicycle to class, I feel like a local.
Caught up with a few friends in Beijing, Andy (from Tentacles), fogod42, and a couple of nice people I met through Bookmooch. (sent off a couple of boxes of books from London, so I can mooch books to Beijing, a nice idea). My bookmooch friends introduced me to the "Beijing Bookworm", a place to find english-language books and friends here.
I've done well for food -- some excellent chinese banquets, bags of frozen baozi and jiaozi that I can heat up, and the big local supermarket has pretty much everything I could want, including: a toaster, decent bread, NZ butter, WA Harvey Fresh orange juice, Australian porridge, good red wine, and more.
The only downside is that the blocked sinuses I got from the flight over, developed into a nasty ear infection. Over-the-counter antibiotics & ear lotion didn't do the job, so I spent all day at the local chinese hospital and ended up with an intravenous antibiotics drip, which seems to be doing the job. Repeat treatments tomorrow and Tuesday, with a checkup. Going to a hospital in any foreign language is a bit scary, and I'm frightened of both needles and hospital superbugs in any case, but the chinese hospital was not too bad. The actual medical staff were as efficient and professional as I could hope. Lots of bureacracy filling in forms and registering, but it was much the same in London.
So, what kind of things do you want to hear from me about China? Odd things I've seen, cultural differences, cool stuff I've been doing? Let me know!