China Diary

Day 166: Beijing Jass

Ahh, another day of cutting and slashing stuff we so carefully shot. Nothing feels as liberating as throwing stuff out, stuff you thought you can’t live without when filming. Unfortunately, I’m still very groggy from the jetlag, so it’s painstakingly hard to crawl out of bed after midday and head over to the office, but over there, things move fairly quickly. The editor is fast, and although there’s a slight language wall there – we are almost in clear understanding on each others, but sometimes information gets twisted and the dialogue hits the wall, but mostly it’s smooth sailing. Like I said, she has done a wonderful job already on the material, so it’s nice to build on that, instead of having to do everything from the scratch.

The air quality has been pretty nasty since I came over. Index dipping on most days to red, the weather outside is gray and the city disappears in smog in just few hundred meters away. I’ve felt stranded in my hotel and office the last few days, since without my skateboard it’s pretty hard to get around. See, getting a taxi in Beijing can be quite a painful operation. It’s easy enough to get the hotel to order you one, but getting back from wherever is the trick.

My dear hotel. I know all the staff already – no surprise, I’ve spent two months here recently.

After the work day I decided I’ve been enough in my room and after a quick nap I jumped in my Timberlands and taxied to a half price taco Tuesday night at a local taco house. The buzz was positive, loads of foreigners also had found the tacos, and margaritas were floating around the room as I parked my bum on the barstool and ordered two combo platters full of delicious tacos and few Coronas. I allowed the noise of the room fade out in to the background and sank into my book. I’m reading Kim Stanley Robinson’s New York 2140, a wonderful post-ecocatastrophic book about New York.

Tacos, Kindle and a Corona.

I was still feeling a bit jumpy after the dinner, so I’d me something else to do. I found out there was a jazz band playing in a club that sounded pretty promising – Dusk Dawn Club – so I hailed a cab (which means: stood in the freezing cold Beijing night for 30 minutes) to the shadowy Hutong alleys and soon enough found myself enjoying a Chinese-American (I guess) jazz band playing a bunch of classics and then throwing into a full fletched impro with locals. A perfect night, only a bit lonely if anything.

Back at the hotel I tried again to sleep, but it was impossible. I wasted the night away with my laptop, even making it to the breakfast before I finally fell asleep. I knew already the next day was ruined, but luckily it was just one meeting day, not a proper edit session.

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