During my first weeks in Beijing, there was an empty bunk bed in my room that soon would be occupied by my future roommate. Since she came to live with me, things have significantly changed. Her name is Braven, 鱼儿 (yu, little fish in English). It’s so much fun to have her now. Besides being a great and immediate help in my Chinese learning process, we’ve done so much together already; I’ll be explaining that to you in a second.
Over the past weeks, the Mid-Autumn Festival took place, it was an amazing fest to spend in Beijing. As Braven is member of the environmental protection club in Bei Wai, she invited some of her friends and along with them we went to the Lama Temple and Houhai Lake on that day. It was a national holiday, so there were a lot of people on the streets enjoying the nice weather. Thinking about it now, it might have been a good idea to write this post now, because we visited the Lama Temple later on again with our Beijing History class. On my first time there (Mid-Autumn Festival) I was showered with a comforting feeling that came along with the incense smog covering the temple. What a peaceful place. It was my first time in a Buddish temple, no wonder the giant Buddha statue made out of just a sandalwood tree of 23 meters tall (which holds a Guinness World Record) amazed me, even more on my second visit to the temple, when our professor Jeremiah explained lots of curious facts about it. However, I don't have any pictures because in the indoor areas of the temple photos were not allowed in order to respect the believers.
We also visited the monks’ school, which had many seats for them to sit and chant the prayers. Fortunately, we could see this pretty rare event taking place on my second time there with my Beijing History class. The mantras they were reciting almost had a hypnotic effect.
Right across the street in the Lama Temple, we had a delicious green tea ice cream thanks to Braven, she knew exactly where to get it. After the spiritual experience, we decided we could not miss the opportunity to buy very cheap scarfs just around the corner. We definitely had a fun time digging into the thousands of scarfs until we found the right ones. What came next fascinated me. Houhai Lake is a place in which one can spend hours and hours, and still be able to discover new shops, food and things going on. We arrived just when the sun was behind the lake, creating a postcard scene. Because of the holiday, lots of people were enjoying the nice weather and went there to have some meat skewers (肉串儿 rou chuan) and take a boat on the lake. I must admit it walking through the crowds was a bit overwhelming, but the atmosphere almost kept all my attention.
We had dinner in a hotpot place, although we decided to have something lighter, as we had been getting snacks before, and ate some mantou and noodles. When we finished, night had already fallen, so we walked ourselves out of Houhai and returned to Bei Wai.
On the next day, I visited Wangfujin, one of the most famous shopping streets in China. My friends got some scorpions, snake skewers, starfish, crickets and centipedes, although I could only cope with some snake meat and some other food that didn’t contain anything that I hadn’t tried before. I could go with grilled or fried squid, for example.
The Mid-Autumn Festival surely was a very nice experience for me, not to mention the several mooncakes that I ate (delicious!), although my favorite one remains the one filled with dry nuts and honey.
Thanks for reading!
See you in the next post!
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Alejandra Sola Ávila
<div>21, from Southern Spain. Translation and Interpreting student in University of Granada.</div>
<div>Now IES Abroad student. Currently living in Beijing and studying in Bei Wai University. </div>
<div>Passionate about books, poetry, cinema, good music and travelling. I believe I was born to travel the world while helping others.</div>
<div>'Not all who wander are lost'.</div>