The area that I’m staying in is absolutely amazing, and I’ve been able to fully immerse myself in the city. It’s called the Dashilan District and I’m happy to report that I got approval from my tour guide about my choice of location, as he said it’s “not touristy at all. Very Chinese culture.” I could spend hours strolling around the streets surrounding my hostel, and in fact have done just so. Below are some helpers to help you picture the quaint neighborhood I’m staying in, including pictures of Qianmen street, a famous pedestrian street in Beijing.
The first thing on my agenda for Thursday was a lunch meeting with an American lawyer. He had played professional basketball in Hong Kong for 10 years, and is the author of a number of interesting articles about sports in China that were luckily forwarded along to me. He happened to be one of the first of many cold emails I’ve sent out for this project, since I had a feeling that his perspective could be very valuable to my interests, a feeling which turned out to be accurate. We talked about a wide variety of topics, including the difference between playing in China and in the US, the current administration’s involvement in sports, and the optimistic future of basketball in the country. We also discussed the wealth that flows around the sports market amongst Chinese businessmen, the latter having very little training in sports management. This conversation eventually led us to the topic of my future career goals. While I’m still unsure of the professional route I will take, this trip has opened my eyes to the world of international relations in sports, or rather how easily the two can be combined, and it’s a path that I might interested in pursuing. My next meeting will be Monday with the CEO of NBA China, so I get to take in as much of Beijing as I can until then!
So far, I’ve zigzagged in the streets of Nanluoguxiang, climbed up the steep steps of the Drum Tower, admired the view on Coal Hill, as well as did a guided tour of Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven, and the Summer Palace. I would argue that my past 48 hours have been very eventful and exciting. On my tour today, people couldn’t believe that I was traveling alone at 21 years old, but I reassured them (like I’m currently reassuring my parents) that I’ve constantly felt safe, and that I’ve met plenty of extremely interesting people along the way. In fact, I will be having a Peking Duck dinner on Tuesday with two American teachers who were on my tour today – they spent the past school year teaching in Guangzhou, China. I’ll admit that my ears perk up whenever I hear some English or French being spoken around me, which isn’t very often at all, but I’d say that I’ve made the most of this time alone. I’ll be heading home in 4 days, so I certainly don’t have time to feel lonely! I have a lot on my agenda for the next few days, including basking in this nearly 40-degree Celsius weather (for Americans: 40 degrees is very, very hot).
PS. Xiaoshu, the title of this post, means “Lesser Heat,” which apparently refers to the current period of the year. If this is lesser heat, I can only imagine what comes next.