Me and Chairman Mao
  Bye-bye, Beijing.
For those of you who don't know, tomorrow is our last day in the 'Jing. That's actually the reason for the plethora of posting recently (you are aware that I adore alliteration by now, right?): there was all sorts of stuff I figured I'd get around to putting up at some point, and in the last few days I realized that "some point" had arrived, so it was now or never. Obviously, I went with "now." Anyway, if nothing else, it will give you a lot to read while I'm on a blogging break.

Yes, a break--but not the end. Continuing the "for those of you who don't know" theme, we are actually moving to Shanghai for an entire year next, so I'll have a completely new Chinese city to laugh at--um, laugh with--which will be nice. Nothing like fresh material, after all. Although we actually aren't going to straight to Shanghai: we're going on holiday first! (Hopefully a tour group free holiday. Or at least, relatively free.) Our first stop is Siem Reap, Cambodia to see the Angkor temples, a trip that I am not only very excited about, but which I fully anticipate will produce the GREATEST PHOG EVER. Well, at least on my website; in my infinite humility, I will allow for the fact that greater phogs (photo blogs) may exist on some less cool, far suckier site. (I know, I know--I'm such a nice guy. I'm sort of like Jesus in that way. Except with less hair. And, let's face it, better teeth most likely.). But at any rate, after that, it's off to Phuket for a week or so on the beach, then it's back to the States for two weeks, and finally we're off to Shanghai in mid-June.

(Side note: Due to flight times, we'll be staying in Bangkok. For one night. I'm not sure how many times I'll start singing, "One night in Bangkok makes a hard man humble ...," but the early over/under is about 75. And that number is only likely to go up, sadly. Well, mostly sadly for Holly ...)

So now that we are leaving, people are starting to ask me if I'll miss Beijing. I think the answer is yes. Sure, there are plenty of things I won't mind leaving behind: the bone-chilling winters; the snot-blackening, T-shirt destroying pollution (my white t-shirts are uniformly a dingy gray); the spitting, nose picking, and snot blowing you see on every street corner; and the way no Chinese cab driver will ever understand what any foreigner says in Chinese until he or she has repeated it at least five or six times, at which point the cab driver gives an "Oh!" and then repeats back exactly what you just said.

However, there are certainly some things I'll miss: the way you can cross the street anytime, anywhere, regardless of lights, bikes, traffic, or anything else; the way that everything worth going to is down an alley somewhere, preferably off a side-street so no one, not even the cab drivers, have any idea where it is; the way you can round the rattiest corner imaginable and find yourself staring at a stark, ultramodern art gallery or one of the city's best restaurants; the way that Chinese food tastes here, which is so much better than the US--yes, this applies to your favorite Chinese restaurant, wherever it is--that the two can't even be compared; the way that no one thinks it's strange when you order a twenty-two ounce beer for each person at the table with dinner; the way that you can get away with almost anything simply by virtue of being a foreigner and pretending you can't speak Chinese, including getting on an airplane without a passport (note that simply not speaking Chinese works well, too); the way we can buy the latest Hollywood blockbusters for a buck at the shop down the street, usually less than a week after they've come out in the States; and so on and so forth, dot dot dot.

But that's all over now. It's said, done; been there, done that--you get the picture. Well, at least until we show up in Shanghai a month from now, which has pretty much all the same stuff, except the "ratty corner" will be a "shiny shopping mall." Otherwise, however, it's basically identical. I guess that means I'll have to buy some more T-shirts, huh?
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