We're two months into our stay in Beijing and we've all concluded pretty much what Dan concluded within the first few months of his arrival: we don't really love Beijing. It's not something easily pin-downable, just the sense of having to slog through everything here. Maybe we can just put it down to the fact that none of us are city folks. I think lots of people (foreigners included) like living in Beijing, but we're not really included in that group.
I've gotten used to being in Hangzhou, I think, where people are a little more laid back, friendlier, less likely to gape. In the first week it was a bit of a shock, how people stare - and it was all the more strange since there are lots of foreigners in this neighborhood due to the university, so it's really not like we're a novelty. I found I adopted a habit of not really looking at people, there was just too much pointedness in people's looks. Blech. Service is pretty unfriendly as well. Ah well, there you have it, life in a big city.
We'll be heading back to Hangzhou for a long weekend in a few weeks, which will be great.
The good thing to come out of this realization, though, is that we've been working to find things we like about being here. Surprisingly we came up with quite a list that, though it doesn't take all the blech out Beijing, at least reminds us that it's not all worth complaining about.
Stay tuned for some of the positives...