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The Storm, 798 Art Zone, Taoranting Park

July 21, 2016

The Storm

This week we experienced one of the biggest rainstorms in Beijing for the past two months.  You're probably thinking, "what's so significant about a couple drops of water?" Normally in America, or at least in my hometown, when we have large storms, we just need to wear proper attire and be cautious when driving, then our lives can go on.  However, when it rains in Beijing, the city basically shuts down.  Internships got cancelled, restaurants closed, streets flooded, and people got soaked.  

In the middle of this rainstorm, we had an organized field trip to the  Chinese National Museum in Tiananmen Square.  Tickets were free, but there was a line outside to get in.  As we waited in line and did our best to hide from the rain under the umbrellas, we saw local shop workers frantically sweeping out the water from their shop front to prevent the shop from flooding. I also saw people wearing plastic bags on their shoes to protect their feet from getting wet and staircases turned into lovely waterfalls.  By the time when we finally got inside, all of us were soaked and shivering, almost too cold to pay attention to the artifacts in the museum. 

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When we got home, we had to struggle to find food to eat.  My friends made the mistake of ordering food through a delivery service.  Motorbikes instead of cars deliver most of the food here in Beijing, but since it was raining, the service was cancelled.  Thankfully my school cafeteria was still opened, so I ate a tomato, egg, and vegetable dish with rice to sooth my empty stomach.  My friends on the other hand opted for some instant noodles.

So why does the rain affect Beijingers so much?  I noticed that the storm drains were significantly smaller than the ones I'm used to in America, causing the water to move slowly out of the streets.  Also, many of the roofs in Beijing are flat, so when it rains this heavily, it may cause leaks. Our bathroom leaked and even some of the larger buildings leaked too.  Large buckets were placed under the leaks to catch the water just like in the movies. 

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798 Art Zone

I was looking forward to going here ever since I heard about it.  It’s basically an area in Beijing with streets full of art galleries with interesting things to see and a good place to people watch.  We only visited a few of the galleries, and I would love to go back and visit another time if I ever get the chance!

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Taoranting Park

Zhao Laoshi took us out to Taoranting Park for a class fieldtrip to see what a typical park in Beijing is like.  To my surprise, it was the center for all the retired, elderly people to socialize and have fun together.  We saw a large group of people gathered together singing joyfully, some sang while following a musical score while others memorized the songs and others played musical instruments to accompany it.  There were also many dancing groups that had their own style of dancing and uniforms.  My favorite uniform was a group that dressed up in black colored shirts and camoflauge to seem tough.  There were also some interesting sports like hacky sack and ball toss with the back of your hand.  

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