The air- if you want to call it that- was grim today in Beijing. The AQI hit a high of 253 which is defined as: “Significant aggravation of heart or lung disease and premature mortality in persons with cardiopulmonary disease and the elderly; significant increase in respiratory effects in general population.” Add to that, the “Beijing snow” that I wrote about previously, was at times, flurry-like and even piling up in areas. It was my day off, so I thought I would spend the day, mostly outside. Add to that, it was quite hot although I was warned that, “You haven’t seen anything, yet.” Still, I didn’t wear a mask and I don’t perceive any adverse effects upon me.
Due to “foot-dragging” with my broker/bank, I haven’t received the wired-funds transfer and tomorrow, Friday, is technically, the day that I must pay, in full, to the landlord, or she could void the agreement. I was scrambling, with my agent, to see about using other funds I have, but mostly ran into walls. It’s frustrating to see that I have all the money I need but it’s locked up in accounts that limit the amount I can take out per day and unlike in America, banks here don’t give “cash advances” even on my own money. I won’t take the blame. My broker sat on the transfer for three days longer than was necessary due to security fears which could have been ameliorated in one phone call but for some reason, they wanted me to call over a span of three days, each day asking me new sets of questions and each day leaving me with the impression that they were satisfied, culminating in emails confirming the wire transfer that turned out to not be true. I won’t name this company, other than to mention that I worked for them for 12 years! I see the place has gone to hell, since I left.
Then money is in transit, at last. Still, I have tomorrow off and it would be a good time to move. So I beseech “Ceiling Cat” to use his claws to tear down any further barriers.
I also started to teach classes which has yielded some good efforts and others than fell flat. I will write at length about teaching, once i get going. Saturday, I teach four classes and by next week, I will be teaching 25 classes a week. That’s one way to get up to speed, fast! Other than that, there’s really nothing new to report. I have my “routine” but since I’m still living in a hotel room, and in effect, living out of suitcases, I feel very ungrounded and transient.
So, tonight, I sit in my hotel room, amusing myself with writing this blog and seeing what’s on the tube. Chinese TV is certainly interesting. There is one English (mostly) movie channel with Chinese subtitles. There is also CCTV’s English news channel which is very interesting because I get the “Chinese slant” (I’m looking at you, Nancy) on the news. Not surprisingly, it isn’t exactly, pro-USA, which people who know me, know I’m happy to indulge. Still, there is very little news about the the antics of the insane asylum, known as this year’s presidential election. Invariably, there is always a dramatization on, about the horrors inflicted upon the Chinese by the Japanese during the second world war and when that gets old, I can find a movie about the civil war with the Kuomintang, both of which I find interesting, although I must admit a certain difficulty in following, due to language constraints. But it’s easy to get the main idea: Japanese and Nationalists, bad; communists, good!
I can get my news “fix” via, various websites. It’s a crazy-quilt in terms of what’s allowed and what’s blocked. Fox News comes through but MSNBC doesn’t. What’s that about? Salon.com is accessible but the New York Times isn’t. I use a VPN but these are notoriously unpredictable in terms of connectivity. After days of trying, I was able to peruse Facebook for the first time since I arrived.
I can only hope, and not pray that on Friday, the wire transfer is in my account and I can move into my new place and truly begin my life here in Beijing. Hotel life isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.